Fandom: House MD
Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100 080. Why?
Copyright: All sorts. Ask me if you want anything.
Summary: Chase wonders if this is Wilson’s breakdown and, if so, why he has to be there to witness it.
Author’s Notes: My Finding Judas tie-in fic, the first 3,500 (give or take) words. I’m working on this in instalments, because FJ airs next week, and since this is the closest to canon C/W I’ll ever get, I want to writhe around in it and work on the build up. This part is set between the end of “Que Sera Sera” and the end of “Whac-a-Mole”. And I love the version of Chase I’ve used in this :D
I. He told me all romantics meet the same fate someday.
It’s raining and Wilson is dripping all over Chase’s previously immaculate flooring. He is completely drenched, blue shirt soaked right through, hair plastered flat to his skull.
“He stole my pad,” he says quietly, and Chase watches him without saying anything because he isn’t at all sure why Wilson is here and also he just had his floor cleaned and now he’s going to have to get it done again. “He stole my fucking prescription pad, and forced me to lie to the fucking cops about it.”
“Ok.” Chase wonders if this is Wilson’s breakdown and, if so, why he has to be there to witness it. He knows that he’s not nearly comforting enough. “You should have gone to Cameron.”
“Too much of a sense of right and wrong,” Wilson explains. Chase almost smiles. Process of elimination, or not. Either way, it explains a lot.
“Want some dry clothes?” he asks. For the first time, Wilson seems to notice his sodden state, and a frown creases his features.
“Please,” he replies, pulling his tie off and dropping it. It makes a squelching sound, and Chase grimaces before making his way to his bedroom and the endless rows of shirts and slacks folded up in drawers. When he comes back to the living room, most of Wilson’s clothes are in a pile on the floor and he’s shivering. Chase puts the clothes on the end of the couch and then goes to get him a towel too.
While Chase would have to admit that once or twice he’s imagined Wilson dripping wet and almost naked in his apartment (tuxedos look really damn good on the guy, and Chase is still human, despite House’s best efforts to the contrary), it wasn’t in these circumstances. And he barely watches as Wilson gets dressed again. Well, maybe he sneaks a peek. Just one. No more than four, anyway.
“Come on,” he says, “I’ll take you for a drink.”
Wilson frowns at him slightly, one of those looks on his face.
“You came here,” Chase points out, “You don’t get to judge me.”
So Wilson nods and Chase drives them both out to a bar, because Wilson actually walked all the way to Chase’s apartment, in the rain, in his shirtsleeves, and Wilson has one beer without saying a thing and then calls a cab to go home. Chase nurses a gin and tonic alone and wonders what the hell made Wilson think of him in the first place.
II. For the last time you would officially cross my line.
Being Wilson’s last resort is somewhat disturbing. Chase supposes that Wilson needs someone to talk to, because House is pretending that none of this is happening and Cuddy has to protect her hospital and Cameron would probably do something drastic because her personality did something slightly unsettling over that impossibly long summer and Foreman doesn’t care. But Chase doesn’t care either. Not really. He and Wilson have never been close and if he’s truly honest he’s never really felt any desire to be friends with the vague and Monogamously Challenged oncologist.
“So House is screwing your life up,” he says over a coffee, “That’s not my problem.”
Wilson looks like he hasn’t slept in days.
“House isn’t screwing my life up,” he replies, “Tritter is screwing my life up because I won’t testify against House.”
“Same difference,” Chase points out. His head hurts. There’s altogether too much truth floating around at the moment and he may be losing his common sense shard by shard, but even he knows not to get involved with House and Wilson’s Crazyfun Carousel Of Knives. Everyone gets cut to ribbons and then House pours salt in the wounds because he’s so good at that and it never ends well.
“I don’t know what to do,” Wilson admits quietly. Chase sighs.
“And I don’t care,” he replies. “I’m sorry Wilson, I know this is all very traumatising for you, but it’s none of my business. Nothing you or I can say will make the blindest bit of difference; I have to go back to working for House tomorrow morning, you have to be his best friend and defend him until you’ve got nothing left. It’s the way it works.”
There’s hurt in Wilson’s eyes. Chase pretends he can’t see it; he’s been tricked into getting himself involved with things he shouldn’t before, and now most of the hospital staff seem to regard him as some kind of emotionally retarded, sleazy joke. Not this time.
“If you really want to find someone to talk to,” he continues, deciding that being Wilson’s Last Resort is not conducive to retaining his sanity or getting himself back on House’s good side (where things aren’t any better but at least they won’t get worse), “Then start screwing the nurses. Hell, get married again. You seem to be really good at that.”
Wilson grabs his wrist when he tries to get up, angry now.
“Don’t pretend you know the first thing about me,” he hisses quietly, “Because you don’t know fucking anything.”
“And I don’t want to,” Chase snarls back, pulling his arm free. “Don’t put this on me! Put this on Cameron! Get a backbone and stand up to House for once! Just don’t tell me, because I don’t give a shit, Wilson, ok?”
Chase leaves him sitting there and tells himself that this is no worse than the dozens of other faintly cruel things he’s done to save his own skin over the last couple of years.
III. It’s been a bad day, please don’t take a picture.
There’s nothing about this situation that isn’t stupid or screwed-up to a fault, and House is contentedly gallivanting about with Wilson and a guy that he woke from a coma (or a vegetative state, what the hell ever) while his team struggle to save the guy’s son. House calls in occasionally, with ever more stupid diagnoses, and they all jump. Dancing to his invisible tune.
What doesn’t help is that Detective Tritter is interrupting their day to interview them. And trying to get their stories to align is trickier than Chase would have thought it would be. The three of them have never been in synch, preferring to stab each other in the back and snap and snarl and fuck (well, that was just one time, Cameron was high and he was- Chase has no idea what he was, but he knows it was a bad call), and now they could pay for it.
“Tritter doesn’t believe that House only takes eight pills a day,” he hisses at Cameron after his own endlessly awkward interview, “Couldn’t you have picked something a little more credible?”
“I’m trying not to make him sound like an addict!” Cameron snaps back.
“They found over six hundred pills in his apartment,” Chase points out, “It’s pretty hard to not make him sound like an addict.”
“So you sold him out,” she says, lips curling with disdain. “Told Tritter that he takes half a bottle on a good day, that he stole Wilson’s prescription pad and yours too, and that the diagnostics department would run oh so much better if you were running it?”
“I told him House takes between eight and ten pills a day, that I’ve written him a couple of prescriptions when he asked because he’s in pain, and that I firmly believe Wilson would write prescriptions for a patient in constant agony,” Chase snaps back.
Cameron’s expression turns to something like penitent surprise. Chase rolls his eyes and decides that at some point, preferably when this is all over, he should really start trying to regain some respect from his co-workers.
The phone rings; House wants an update and Chase returns to the little bubble of the differential diagnosis that they all live in, where everything’s impossible and nothing’s as it seems but at least he understands most of the rules.
IV. When does the warning light appear before a man breaks?
“I backed up your story,” Chase says. Maybe it’s a peace offering; maybe it’s just a statement of fact. Wilson won’t look at him either way. His shoulders are hunched, it’s late, House has been dragging him about all day on some kind of misguided quest that Chase doesn’t want to know about.
“I thought you were trying not to get yourself involved,” Wilson murmurs. His voice is tired and bitter.
“Turns out I sort of am involved,” Chase shrugs, taking this as an invitation to step into the office.
Wilson lets out an ugly bark of laughter that runs down Chase’s spine and hurts.
“Yeah,” he mutters, still refusing to turn around, “Because when House goes to jail, you’ll get a slapped wrist, a black mark next to your name. You’ll get a new job eventually, people will come to think it was cool you were working for Greg House when his star burned out.” When he turns, Chase is almost shocked at how haggard he looks. “When House goes to jail, I go with him. I lose my reputation, my license, my life as I know it.” He shakes his head; there’s something approaching terror in his expression.
“Tritter came to talk to us today,” Chase tells him, “We all backed up your story.”
Wilson smirks. It’s not a nice smirk and its bitterness is almost reminiscent of House on his bad days; it looks wrong on his face and Chase wonders exactly how much of James Wilson is left in that shell. And how much is depression and how much is House.
“Thanks,” he says, sardonic edge to his tone, “That means a lot. When this all falls apart and I get arrested, it’ll really cheer me up to remember that you deigned to lie to the cops for me.”
Chase knows he deserves it. It stings anyway.
“I don’t know what you want me to say,” he tells him.
“I don’t want you to say anything,” Wilson replies. He’s in so many pieces, it’s painful to look at. Chase knows that he doesn’t know Wilson as well as he could, or maybe should, but you can’t work for House and not see four times as much of Wilson as is necessary, and he has never seen Wilson this weak and broken.
“This’ll blow over,” he says, “House gets himself into these things, they all work out.”
Wilson laughs, properly laughs, it scares the hell out of him.
“I don’t know how you’ve managed to retain that much naïveté,” he chokes, “But it’s admirable. Worrying, but admirable.”
Chase feels himself flush. He supposes he’s come to think of House as fallible, so damn fallible, but ultimately invincible. And he is. It’s the people on the edges who suffer as a result of his anarchy, his boredom, his bitterness.
“Get out,” Wilson tells him, quiet but firm, “I don’t want to talk to you.”
Chase obeys; he just wants to go home and shower and sleep. And not think about the fact that this time, this time House might have bitten off more than he can chew. Even more than that, he doesn’t want to think about the look on Wilson’s face.
V. Your prince’s crown cracks apart and falls down
Chase comes in early to work for reasons even he can’t work out. Paper cup of coffee, thumping headache; he knows that today is going to be bad. Passing Wilson’s office, he hears shouting coming through the door; for a moment he thinks House is in there (the blinds are tight shut) before he realises that it’s at least two hours too early for House to be around.
“For God’s sake, Laura, let me talk- you’re not listening to me! No, you’re not! You interrupt me every time I try to explain- no, I know- I’m not doing this on purpose!” A pause. “You’re overreacting. I’ll sort this out. Yes, I know, I know, I’m a lousy cockroach of a man and you have no faith in me, I’ve heard it all before, but I will sort this out. It’s complicated.” Another pause. “Look, Laura, I’ve got Rose on the other line, let me go and talk to her, and try to calm down.”
Chase pushes the office door open. Wilson doesn’t even notice.
“Rose, I’m sorry. Look, there are complications, I’m doing what I can. The police are investigating House-” Even Chase can hear the shouting through the phoneline, a woman’s voice, furious. “I know, I know how you feel about House, but we’re not married any more, if I want to be his friend- the point is I’m really sorry but there’s nothing I can do.” More yelling. “Fine. You do that. It doesn’t change the fact that I am powerless. Ok, great. I’m glad you’re relieved you insisted on a divorce. I’m going now.”
He presses the next call button on the phone and reaches a hand out to Chase.
“Give me your coffee.”
Chase obeys, and sits down, while Wilson takes a fortifying gulp and picks up the other call.
“Laura. I’m sorry. I’m sorry you rely on that money, maybe you should try actually holding down a job for once. That could be an exciting project for you while I get this sorted out. And much as I’d like to sit here listening to you list my faults in an increasingly hysterical fashion, I’m going to put the phone down now.”
Chase hears the yell of: “The hell you are!”
“My hands are tied, so your shouting at me is not going to fix anything. It’s just going to give us both a headache. I will talk to you when the situation changes. Ok? Laura? Great, fuck you too. Goodbye.”
He puts the phone down and sighs, rubbing his hands across his face. Chase sits and waits.
“Do you want an explanation?” Wilson asks after a moment. Chase considers that. He’s detached. But.
“Yes,” he replies.
“The police have frozen my bank accounts as part of their investigation,” Wilson tells him. “And both my ex-wives were due alimony payments today.” He gives a slightly rueful smile.
“They’ve frozen your bank accounts?” Chase asks, suddenly realising that this is getting drastic. “But-”
“The bank can’t fix this,” Wilson says, “And it’s perfectly legal. So now I have no money, two ex-wives trying to sue and/or kill me, and I’m in the middle of my third divorce and now have no method of funding said divorce.”
Chase finds himself saying, “I could-”
“You have less money than I do right now,” Wilson replies. “And you don’t care, remember?”
“I don’t,” Chase replies, “But if you testify against House, then I-”
“You don’t want to finish that sentence,” Wilson says mildly but dangerously, the voice of a man on the edge, “You really don’t.”
“I’ll go,” Chase tells him.
“And I’m keeping your coffee,” Wilson adds.
“Fine.” Chase doesn’t look back.
VI. I don’t wanna hear what you want (or who you want).
A day later, it becomes clear that things are getting worse, not better. Tritter has had Wilson’s car impounded and now he can’t write prescriptions. But even now, even though it’s clear that Wilson’s life is falling to pieces and that House has no intention of helping him fix it, Chase ultimately can’t care. It’s sad, in a pathetic, car-crash kind of way. But it still isn’t his problem. And he’s relieved when House tells Cameron to go and deal with Wilson’s prescriptions; she’ll be sympathetic. Chase has no idea how to be sympathetic, and he doesn’t want to be either.
Even when House is refusing to let any of their team leave to help Wilson prescribe medication, he doesn’t care. It’s Wilson’s problem. It isn’t his.
It’s raining again, because apparently that’s the perfect weather to compliment this messed-up situation. And Chase is beginning to feel that this whole Tritter thing is going to encompass them all and House is getting harder and colder and edgier but Chase wouldn’t write him a Vicodin prescription, even when begged, and he feels that shows he’s learning.
Wilson is sitting outside the hospital on a bench, wind in his hair, looking tired. Chase sighs, walks across, and sits beside him.
“If you sit here all night you’re going to get ill,” he says.
“Yes, because that would make my life so much worse,” Wilson mutters, eyes on the wet road.
“I’ll drive you home,” Chase offers.
“Did Cameron put you up to this?”
“Cameron doesn’t care about anyone anymore,” Chase replies, pretending it’s not bitterness on his tongue, “Haven’t you read the memo? She figured a few things out this summer and now caring for your colleagues is out.”
“She had to learn sometime,” Wilson mutters. “Caring for your co-workers never works out in the end.”
“Now you’re just getting self-indulgent,” Chase tells him. “Come on. I’ll drive you home.”
“I live in a hotel,” Wilson replies, in an eerily calm voice.
“Jesus.” Chase gets to his feet. “You’re just asking the world to come kick you in the balls, aren’t you?”
VII. My doctor says, “you just took it to the limit”.
“I know you don’t care,” Wilson says, “And I know you don’t want to listen, but I’m going to talk anyway.”
Chase ignores him and focuses on the golden scotch in the bottom of his glass. He doesn’t want Wilson’s pain. He’s got enough shit of his own to worry about.
“House gives up on people,” Wilson says quietly, “He amuses himself with them for a certain amount of time and then he loses interest and gives up.” He sighs. “And now he’s given up on me. I am giving up everything for him, absolutely fucking everything, and it doesn’t mean a thing to him.”
You idiot, Chase thinks, this is what you get for letting House take you over. Your friendship isn’t healthy and it isn’t really friendship either.
But Wilson’s had enough blows dealt to him today, so Chase keeps his mouth shut. It’s the least he can do.
“I’ve got nothing left,” Wilson adds. “No wife, no home, no money, no friend, no car, my career is being dragged from my hands-”
“My father died and it turned out that several members of staff at the hospital where I worked that saw me every single day couldn’t be bothered to tell me, and I wound up killing a mother of two,” Chase says.
Wilson laughs, a horrible sound. “Because everything’s about you, isn’t it Chase? If it doesn’t directly affect you, then it doesn’t exist.”
“Sorry, I thought we were sharing self-indulgent sob stories.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Wilson looks genuinely interested, even slightly drunk and slightly damp with rain and Chase knows that Wilson will walk into work tomorrow in one of his shirts and House will know but won’t say a word and that will make it all that much worse.
“Empathising- it ends badly,” Chase explains.
“Ok.” Wilson nods, and lets out a breath. “I- I can’t- I- I – can’t get out of this. I’m trapped and I can see it just getting worse and worse and spiralling out of control and it’s scary and it’s almost funny and there’s nothing I can do to make it stop.”
Chase regards Wilson for a very long moment.
“This is the point at which I make very bad decisions,” he says, “Just so you know.”
“I make bad decisions around now too,” Wilson replies, and they both look at each other in trepidation across the table except the concept is neither as mad nor as intimidating as it should be.
Chase pours them both another drink, playing for time.
VIII. I don’t want to be your Superman.
In the breathless second before their lips meet, Chase remembers that he’s slightly sane and he’s also apparently Wilson’s last resort, in spite of his best efforts to the contrary, and although normally he’s too apathetic and distant and downright disinterested to be someone’s last resort, and he’s never done this before, he has just enough sense left to remember that this is not at all a good idea, and it mustn’t happen.
He stops Wilson with his fingers against the other man’s mouth.
“I can’t save you,” he says clearly. “And this won’t help.”
Wilson sits back, closing his eyes like he’s in pain.
“I’m sorry,” Chase murmurs.
“You’re more responsible than I thought you’d be,” Wilson mumbles.
A thought strikes Chase.
“Did you plan this?” he asks.
“No.” Wilson smirks. Chase reflects that they’re both very drunk and this has to stop because things are getting even worse and now they’re exacerbating the situation without even trying. “I didn’t plan this, because you are a nasty little bastard who is incapable of feeling human emotion.”
“Right now, I’m all you’ve got,” Chase reminds him. It’s not a comforting thought.
“Oh,” Wilson murmurs, “Fuck.”