Fandom: House MD
Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100, 080. Why?
Copyright: All sorts of stuff. Ask if you really wanna know.
Summary: He’s suddenly Wilson’s new best friend.
Author’s Notes: The second half of my “Finding Judas” tie-in (I might write a sequel to this, I’ve got a kick-ass title idea, but anyway, that’s weeks off). Some befores, some whys, and some afters of Wilson’s decision. Because it’s my one and only canon moment and I will abuse it for all it’s worth. Once again, I’m playing with new shades of Chase and Wilson. Because.
IX. At least be confused about right and wrong.
“Half the hospital is going to be convinced you’re sleeping with me,” Chase tells an incredibly hungover Wilson, throwing him a clean shirt and tie. Wilson is soaking again, this time from the shower.
“Did you pick your bathroom out from a catalogue?” Wilson enquires, apparently ignoring Chase’s comment, “It’s very… shiny. And beige.” He glances around. “So’s the rest of your apartment, actually. Jeez, how do you live here? It’s like drowning in a magnolia shoebox.”
“Yes, because now’s the time to talk about my taste in décor,” Chase mutters. His own head is pounding, and he sits down on the couch, clutching his mug of morning coffee like a lifeline. “How about we discuss drapes, and how important it is to match them to the rest of your haberdashery?”
Wilson stares at him, and then down.
“Your drapes match your towels,” he says. “That’s… highly disturbing.”
Chase closes his eyes and leans his head against the back of the couch.
“Why are we having an incredibly awkward conversation about my decorating scheme?” he asks.
“It’s the most neutral conversation topic I can think of while it feels like the top of my head is falling off,” Wilson explains. “I suppose we could discuss the weather.”
Chase makes a very small groaning sound, and listens to Wilson wandering about getting dressed. He takes it as a sign that he’s really, really in pain, because he doesn’t even try and sneak a peek at Wilson half-naked. Besides, a fatalistic little part of his brain reminds him, given that he’s suddenly Wilson’s new best friend, he’ll have loads more chances to see him in various states of undress. And this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“If you keep going to work in my shirts,” he says, “Everyone’s going to become convinced we’re sleeping together.”
“Right now, that’s the least of my worries,” Wilson replies, a dark edge to his tone. “Let’s see. The end of my life as I know it, or a few nurses gossiping that I’m screwing Dr Chase. Hmm, tough one there.”
“It matters to me,” Chase replies, taking another fortifying sip of coffee and just feeling more irritated.
“Of course it matters,” Wilson mutters, “Because it concerns you and your stupid little reputation. You really are the most self-centred person I know, and I’ve been House’s best friend for years.”
“If you feel like that, you can bloody walk to work,” Chase tells him.
But he drives Wilson in anyway, dropping him a block from Princeton/Plainsboro so that they can retain some small sense of dignity.
X. These five words in my head scream: are we having fun yet?
For at least the sixth time in the last two weeks, Chase seriously considers resigning. House is in withdrawal, which is nothing new – been there, done that, watched him break his hand etc etc etc – but it doesn’t make life easy, and for some reason, he finds himself avoiding Wilson to a degree that is actually embarrassingly ridiculous. He doesn’t know why he should, except that he’s tired and things are complicated and Wilson doesn’t give him peace of mind or reassurance.
“You don’t need to avoid me like I’m a one night stand that wasn’t meant to happen,” Wilson informs him, catching Chase off-guard in the men’s room, and there’s something faintly homoerotic and therefore worrying about this whole situation.
“I’m not avoiding you,” Chase lies.
“Nothing happened,” Wilson shrugs. “It doesn’t have to be awkward between us.”
“There shouldn’t be anything at all between us!” Chase hears his voice becoming a little unsettlingly high-pitched. “We’re colleagues, we don’t even work in the same department.”
“But I’m wearing your shirt and you can’t look me in the eye,” Wilson responds. Chase lets out a breath, leaning back against the sinks and gripping onto the cold enamel because it’s reassuringly solid.
“Stop trying to trap me into your stupid complicated life,” he orders. “It’s stupid and sad what Tritter is doing to everyone, and what he’s doing to you is uncalled for, but I don’t want to get involved and I’m tired of you pushing your way into my life with your problems. I have my own problems without you shoving yours in on top of them.”
“Defensive little bastard, aren’t you?” Wilson’s smile is all twisted, it’s unsettling. “I’m not trying to drag you into my life, but you do seem to keep pushing in.”
Chase doesn’t want to hear this. It’s a long and irritating enough day without Wilson adding this in.
“Just fuck off and leave me alone, ok?” he snaps. He shouldn’t say this, if Wilson and House were on proper speaking terms then Chase would be fired right now, but then, if Wilson and House were speaking then Wilson wouldn’t be talking to Chase in the first place. And the whole thing is so knotted that it makes his head ache.
Wilson just shrugs, and walks out. And Chase hates it, because now they both know that, in spite of his best efforts to the contrary, Wilson is getting under his skin, so far under that it stings.
XI. I like the fact that you’re nothing like me.
It’s a shock, the way that everyone else has their bank accounts frozen. But Chase doesn’t. He is anxious, because it means he’s being singled out again, it’s Vogler all over again, and although he’s two years older he’s not sure he’s all that wiser. It’s always supposed to be about the job, but it isn’t. He doesn’t know what it’s all about at the moment, who or what he’s protecting, but their backs are against the wall again and he’s not going to be the one to give out this time. Even though everyone assumes he has already. He hates the image of him they’ve all got in their heads, the bastard, cruel bastard, stupid and arrogant and spoilt and selfish. He is all those things, has proven it abundantly to Wilson in the last week or so, but he is a little bit more than that. He’s sure he is.
So he lies. It’s the only thing he can think of to do, to lie to everyone. If they think his account’s frozen, then maybe they won’t be so quick to think he’s sold House out. He hasn’t. Not this time. And he won’t, if only to prove a point to himself. So he lies. And Foreman doesn’t care, not really, but at least it’s the tiniest shield of evidence Chase can think to put up between himself and the rest of the world.
“Your bank account isn’t frozen,” Wilson announces, leaning over Chase’s shoulder on their morning coffee break.
“It isn’t. Lend me twenty bucks. I want to eat something that isn’t made of peanut butter.”
“I told you to leave me alone.”
“Do you really think I’d get anywhere if I obeyed when people told me to fuck off?” Wilson sounds amused.
“You should have run for your life the first time House told you to,” Chase points out. “Then you wouldn’t be here begging me for cash.”
“Give me the twenty bucks or I’ll tell House you sold him out,” Wilson shrugs. “Ok?”
“Desperate,” Wilson points out. “As I have told you several times, I don’t have anything at all. So give me some money and stop acting like we fucked and you can’t bring yourself to remember. We didn’t even kiss, you put a stop to that. It’s fine.”
“You were drunk, why do you even remember?”
“I remember everything from when I’m drunk. It’s awkward but at times it’s useful.” Wilson fixes him with a stare. “Where are my twenty bucks?”
“Spoilt brat,” Chase mutters, fumbling in his pocket for the money. Wilson just smirks.
XII. One mistake’s all it takes, and your life has come undone.
After Tritter walks away, leaving Chase feeling that once again someone’s torn his life from his hands, ripped it inelegantly into shreds, and then handed it back again, expecting him to know what to do with what’s left, he wonders exactly what he’s going to do. A table full of nursing staff are all glaring at him and in approximately 12.4 seconds House is inexplicably going to find out all about this, and then there are going to be glares and accusations and Foreman and Cameron are going to-
Chase rapidly develops a migraine and goes to find somewhere to hide. He can feel glares and whispers and vaguely remembers how much fun it was, selling House out to Vogler. Oh, it was awkward too, and he didn’t exactly intentionally set out to get Wilson dismissed and to force Cameron into quitting, and, fine, the whole thing crashed and burned rather worryingly in the end, but for a while he had this rush of power. It’s never a good thing, to have a superiority complex, but that was a long space of time ago. Chase wishes that people wouldn’t keep reminding him of his indiscretions.
He hides in exam room one, because no one’s in there, and counts to two hundred and fifty six before his heart stops pounding and the world stops being in a million pieces. Eventually, the door opens.
“Tritter’s set me up,” Chase mumbles from where he’s sitting against the wall with his head on his knees.
“Join the club,” Wilson says without sympathy in his voice, coming to sit beside him. Chase says nothing at all for a very long time, keeping his eyes closed and not at all thinking about the place where Wilson’s shoulder rests against his own. “What has Tritter done?” Wilson cracks eventually.
“He’s made it look like I sold House out,” Chase replies dully. He should be trying to diagnose their patient, or be making more false calls to the bank to cover his paper-thin little alibi. Not sitting here with Wilson being more self-pitying than is probably healthy. “In front of a room full of people, he’s made it look like I gave him up again.”
“Did you?” Wilson enquires. There’s too much doubt in his voice, and even though Chase wishes that it wouldn’t, it hurts.
“No!” he says, raising his head. “Say what you like about me, I don’t make the same mistake twice.”
“Why do that when there are so many new and exciting mistakes to make?” Wilson remarks dryly, and Chase wants to point out that Wilson knows fuck all about him, so could he please stop judging him, except that he gets the feeling that Wilson knows everything he needs to know about Chase. Chase has never exactly been complicated. Issue-laden, family screwed up to an almost inhuman degree, makes bad mistakes for no discernable reason, yes; but once you realise all that he’s hardly an enigma.
“You’re one to talk,” he mumbles, giving Wilson a pointed look. Wilson gives him one back and then they both start laughing.
“I don’t know what you’re complaining about,” Wilson says. “Your bank account isn’t frozen and hasn’t been, you’re still living in an unnervingly co-ordinated apartment, even if you get fired you can probably ride your father’s name right along to your next job-”
“If House doesn’t bash my head in with his cane and hide my body in Cuddy’s backyard,” Chase interrupts. “He barely let me get away with this last time, if he thinks I’ve sold him out a second time-”
“I told him he should fire you,” Wilson says, as though that makes the whole situation better, “If he’d listened to me then you wouldn’t be worrying right now.”
“Thank you, that makes me feel so much better,” Chase mumbles. Wilson just laughs, and Chase thinks about snapping something at him, but his pager goes off, and he has to go back to pretending that none of it matters.
XIII. The same thing that blew us together might blow us apart.
Chase has drunk too much coffee and the world is a little blurry in front of his eyes, but he supposes that compared to House, he’s perfect and fine, so he doesn’t complain. The office has this edge in it. He’s used to the office having edges, pointed glares, uncomfortable subtext that no one wants to make text, but… this is new, and different, and scary. Foreman and Cameron, now their bank accounts have been released, are certain that Chase sold House out, and won’t look him in the eye. He has déjà vu so bad it makes him sick, but there’s a little girl dying and this time he’s completely innocent and so much less smug, so Chase pretends to let it go.
House isn’t going to let it go easily, but he’s also pretending that it doesn’t matter. Alone, calmly severing ties with anyone who cares about him, in case they try to step in and intervene. Even Cameron, although she hasn’t sold him out, is biting her teeth together and glaring at everything House says, and that pretty much indicates that hell is in the process of freezing over. Chase sighs, and gets himself another coffee; nothing could surprise him any more.
Except that there’s a little girl and all they seem to be doing is messing her up and House should really be taken off the case, it would be the only logical thing to do, except that there’s no one else to turn to. Cuddy has lost all confidence in herself, Foreman, Chase and Cameron aren’t good enough, and although Chase is sure the Head of Paediatric medicine should be somewhere around and helping out, she really isn’t. No one wants to get near House, terrified of the possible repercussions.
Chase goes down to the lounge because he’s running out of ideas and he’s supposed to be the traitor here anyway, might as well give everyone something to whisper about. Wilson is sitting reading the newspaper and filling the crossword wrong, eating another peanut butter sandwich.
“I don’t even want to think about how many of those you’ve eaten over the last few days,” Chase says, sitting down next to Wilson. “It can’t be good for you.”
“Gee, you should be a doctor,” Wilson mutters distractedly. “What can I do for you, Chase?”
“Get House off the case,” Chase says. “He’s in withdrawal, he’s got Cuddy completely under his control, we’re just making the girl sicker, and-”
“You’re kidding, right?” Wilson gives him an amused look, and when Chase doesn’t crack, he starts laughing. “House doesn’t listen to me any more. He doesn’t give a fuck about what I say or do. I can’t achieve any more than you can.”
Chase sighs, and takes the sandwich from Wilson.
“Hey!” Wilson protests mildly. “You can buy real food, don’t take mine.”
Chase pushes another crumpled bill at him, and walks back to diagnostics, brushing crumbs off his fingers and wondering if there’s anyone left in the world that House would listen to.
“Why are we still protecting him?” he asks Cameron, an hour or so later. She shrugs, forgetting herself for a moment, then remembers to give him a cruel look, clearly saying that she believes Chase sold House out and should stop trying to justify himself.
Chase realises that, for better or worse, they’ll cling to their sinking ship of lies. Reasons no longer matter.
XIV. From where I stand you’re in my sky.
In the space of time after House lands a really, really good punch on his jaw, Chase thinks about suing his boss, thinks about pressing charges for assault, thinks about going to see Wilson and going but he hit me!, thinks about going to Tritter. He does none of those things. He makes sure their patient’s going to be fine, and sits with Cameron and Foreman in the too-shiny diagnostics office. House has gone home, presumably to wander about his apartment kicking stuff and complaining to the bookshelves about why he has no drugs left, and with him gone there’s something oddly reminiscent of the days when it was just the three of them, silently crazy in the office.
Cameron holds an icepack against his chin, which makes the pain into a beautiful and deep purple bruise that blossoms over the course of an hour or so.
“I didn’t sell him out,” Chase says determinedly. Cameron stares at him for a long moment, shrewd gaze, and Chase wonders vaguely when she became this woman that none of them really recognise.
“I believe you,” she says, avoiding his gaze suddenly, handing him the icepack. “I think you can handle holding an icepack to your chin for a while.”
Chase can’t work out if Foreman mutters you pussy or not, and doesn’t care either way. He just sits, and sits, and watches it get dark and listens to Cameron and Foreman attempt to have conversations and then trail off mid-line. He’s still sitting there when Cameron announces she’s going home, offering him an awkward smile, and Foreman, for all his derogatory remarks and insistence that Chase brought this on himself, gives his shoulder a supportive squeeze as he walks out.
Eventually, Chase flicks off all the lights in the department and makes his way downstairs, deciding that he’s tired and angry and hates everyone and everything today. Maybe it’s childish, but his face hurts and nothing at all is right. And when he goes into the lounge on the way out, he discovers Wilson’s eaten all the peanut butter, seriously, all the peanut butter, which makes his pb-and-j sandwich a little too much j and not enough pb.
He storms out, more wound up than ever, and pretends that he didn’t see the perturbed expression on Wilson’s face.
XV. All these poses of classical torture ruined my mind like a snake in the orchard.
Chase pulls open the door and of course it’s Wilson, he can’t exactly say that he’s surprised. But there’s a look in Wilson’s eyes and Chase takes a step back.
“What have you done?” he demands. Wilson remains silent. “What the hell have you done?”
“It’s best that you have no idea,” Wilson responds steadily, “Then at least when you talk to House tomorrow you won’t have to lie.”
“Oh, God,” Chase says softly.
“Can I come in?” Wilson asks. Chase considers just slamming the door in his face and seeing how Wilson likes that, but it’s a little too late for that now, so instead he shrugs and lets Wilson walk in and shut the door.
“I didn’t ask you to do this!” Chase explodes after a moment of perfect silence.
“I didn’t want you to do this.”
“No one said you did.” Wilson is way too calm, and Chase is slightly scared now; House has already hit him once this week. “What makes you think it’s all about you?”
“What, I’m not the tipping point? It was just a coincidence that you decided to- to- directly after you saw that-”
“Ok, fine, maybe you were!” Wilson looks angry, and Chase has never seen him like this before, and it unnerves him, “Maybe I did do it because of you!”
“Fuck.” Chase rubs a hand over his face, aware that he’s trembling. Suddenly a whole lot of things are becoming worryingly clear. And Wilson doesn’t even have the grace to look embarrassed, and Chase almost hates him for it.
“How many times do I have to tell you that I don’t care about you or your life or your problems with House before it sticks?” Chase snarls.
Wilson still looks frustratingly composed.
“You take me for drinks, drive me places when I have no car, let me sleep on your couch, listen to me complaining, lend me your clothes, and find yourself offering comfort even though you don’t want to,” he responds, “If that’s not your definition of ‘caring’ then I’m really interested as to what is.” Chase just stares. “Hate me, fine, but you’ve been so busy trying to keep me at arms’ length that you haven’t even noticed that you’ve been-”
“Shut up!” Chase shouts. He knows it’s childish. That doesn’t matter. “You have to make everything so fucking complicated, that’s your problem, and I wish you’d just stop!”
Wilson’s expression is inscrutable but his voice is tight.
“Fine,” he snaps, “Let’s try something a little less complex.”
And then he’s moving, tilting Chase’s bruised chin up, and kissing him. It’s hard and certain and Chase can’t even try to protest. But in some little place in Chase’s mind not currently occupied with the clenching of Wilson’s hand in his hair and the wet heat of his mouth, he finally realises something.
“You’ve played me,” he gasps, “Every fucking step of the way.”
Wilson considers this.
“Well, no,” he says, “I really did need someone to talk to, and House really has fucked me over.”
Chase knows that much is true, but he also finally works out that Wilson has been using every spare moment into convincing Chase that he really does care, and it’s too late to back out now.
“You manipulative bastard,” he hisses, and Wilson shrugs, looking more like House than ever for one heart-stopping moment.
“What are you going to do about it?” he asks.
Chase considers this, but there really aren’t a whole lot of options.