Fandom: House MD
Pairing: Chase/Wilson [Chase/Cameron]
Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100, 043. Square and un_love_you 15. This is my desperation in action.
Genre: Slash [het]
Summary: Wilson had to do something with those flowers.
Author’s Notes: Set during “Airborne” and “Act Your Age”. I really, really, really hate the Chase/Cameron stuff. It’s ruining the show for me. I think that may have come through slightly in this. And by slightly I mean that there is quite a lot of general bitching. Sadistic!Wilson is back again. I like him a lot. I started writing this and it just bloody flowed. It was written very late at night/early in the morning and so contains a lot of adverbs.
Wilson tells himself, because it makes him feel better, that he didn’t set the whole thing up from the beginning, although it’s becoming uncomfortably clear that he probably orchestrated a large part of it, anyway. He may be completely awful at making his wives reconsider the whole I-want-your-bleeding-head-and-cheating-h
But he is not cruel. He is just bored, a little frustrated, and a little sick of the only people in his world being House, who is getting steadily more unbearable and ever more sadomasochistic; Cuddy, who is sending so many mixed signals that it makes his head hurt just looking at her; and Julie, who is busy squeezing plenty of alimony out of him while simultaneously living it up with a guy who may not be half her age, but certainly looks like he is. It seems that in spite of the man-whore reputation Wilson has carelessly built up over the last few years (the nurses giggling and whispering like schoolgirls when they passed him, and all he could really feel was bemused), Foreman was the one who wound up dating the new blonde nurse (though he did break her heart better than Wilson could ever have managed – it’s always the quiet ones). And Cuddy kissed him on the cheek, lips cold and fingers digging a little too hard into his shoulder, and whispered “Goodnight James” without inviting him in.
It’s probably just as well. Wilson actually likes her, which is more than he can say for House or even for Julie, and sometimes it’s easier to sit back and preserve relationships, rather than acting on momentary theatre-induced compulsions and fucking everything up.
He is not Cameron, for God’s sake. And he has enough sense not to want to screw his boss, and even if he did, he’d be sensible enough to keep quiet about it. The staff knew about Cameron and her desperately sad obsession and were placing bets about the different ways House was going to shoot her down in flames months before she thought blackmailing him into a date would be a good idea. Wilson has enough gossip going on about him without adding that to the mix.
Even with Cameron fucking around with Chase on every available flat surface in the hospital (and a few of the not-very-flat-at-all surfaces too), it’s still all about House. Wilson is deeply unimpressed by Cameron’s inability to keep her mouth shut. Every spare second, it’s got to be ‘I’m screwing Chase and you’re not’. House doesn’t even care; he is too busy being distracted by Cuddy and other, far more entertaining things, like the shape of clouds outside the window and his own fingernails. No one really gives a damn about Cameron and Chase and what they choose to do in their own time – or the hospital’s time, no matter how much time she spends going around shoving it in their faces.
Chase is too busy falling for her to notice what a bitch she’s being about the whole thing. It’s sweet, it’s sad, and Wilson doesn’t really care. Chase always struck him as the naïve one, which is amusing, considering how he’s also the one whose mother died of alcoholism; whose father ignored him for a good fifteen years, neglected to tell Chase he was dying, then cut his only son out of his will; and who decided it would be a really smart idea to sell his boss and colleagues out in order to keep his own job. It’s not even as though Chase is stupid: he just doesn’t seem to have the same logic as normal people. Wilful naïveté, deliberate ignorance – call it what you want, Chase seems to indulge in it just for the hell of it.
The day Wilson was forced to take over the diagnostics department (well, all right, he had no business getting involved seeing as it’s not actually his field of medicine, but he was bored and Cuddy wasn’t around to stop him and neither was House), he suddenly wondered how Foreman was able to work without trying to hang himself from the light fittings in the clinic, or slitting his wrists with whatever came to hand, or braining himself on the edge of the whiteboard. The looks that passed between Chase and Cameron – the we’re fucking and isn’t that great and shouldn’t everyone else know that’s what we’re doing because it’s just so wonderful and we should have done this ages ago and isn’t it sad the way everyone else in the world is so alone and not getting laid on a regular basis so let’s rub that fact that we are in as often as possible and while we’re at it let’s also forget that we’re doctors and lose any diagnostic abilities we might once have had in favour of agreeing with each other on absolutely everything and exchanging knowing looks so that everyone in the nearby vicinity will feel simultaneously envious and nauseous and will also become overcome by the urge to hurt us in creatively painful ways expressions – were unbelievably annoying. To put it mildly.
House has a cane. Wilson finds it impossible to believe that he has not put it to good use yet. No jury in the world would convict him, and it’s not as though the diagnostics carpet isn’t already bloodstained.
Cameron was a lost cause long ago; something irreplaceable broke inside her when House was shot and now she seems to think that somehow she’s a better person, now she’s standing up to everyone and shouting and no longer wearing wispy-lace blouses and wounded expressions. Wilson gave up on her around the time she informed him that, in her personal opinion, cheating while in a relationship was akin to child molestation. No hope for a woman like that. But Chase; oh, Chase had potential. Admittedly, he hadn’t shown it when he was busy being weedy and brainwashed and getting Wilson fired, but, once again, in that endless summer when House had been away recuperating and apparently being incapable of picking up the phone, Chase had come into work in jeans and t-shirts and his hair wet from the shower, and smiled hesitant smiles that nonetheless had no fear behind them, and Wilson had thought that maybe he wasn’t so bad after all.
He’d even managed to stand up to drug-crazed-House-on-a-rampage, gotten attractively bruised for his troubles, and Wilson had looked at that deep purple mark for what was obviously far too long, because the next thing he knew he was running to Tritter to shop his best friend, and for what? Because Chase apparently bruised unbelievably easily, and because his hair had fallen into his face and because once or twice in that long, crazy, lonely summer he’d brought Wilson a cup of coffee and they’d pretended they were something more than men who’d worked together for over three years and yet knew nothing at all about each other. At least for the course of an almost-normal, almost-civil conversation or two.
Thinking like that makes Wilson obscurely angry because it means, although Chase [mercifully] has no idea, it means that he has something on Wilson, something small and petty that could inexplicably be important one day.
It also means that House knows that Chase has something on Wilson, and that can never end well.
When Cameron breaks it off with Chase, things get worse. Wilson has no wish to go anywhere diagnostics these days anyway, what with the cloying ‘romantic’ atmosphere emanating in waves from ChaseandCameron and making the air so thick it’s impossible to breathe from the sheer smugness of it all, Foreman’s “leave-me-out-of-it-but-you-might-as-wel
The atmosphere in diagnostics becomes ever more claustrophobic and incestuous, except now it’s got a sour edge, and the air is electrified. Not an interesting sort of electrified, either, but a get-too-close-and-you’ll-lose-vital-orga
Still, Wilson has his own life to participate in.
The flowers are an interesting touch. Wilson has enough sense, after the initial horrible shock and inane, terrified babbling at House, to realise that they are not actually from Cuddy. Firstly, because she’d probably be capable of choosing a far more tasteful bouquet; secondly, because she’d put something far more witty and less panic-inducing on the card; and thirdly, because she’s far more original than that, and wouldn’t send flowers in the first place.
Wilson is nonetheless impressed by the amount of effort House would willingly exert in order to fuck with him.
Ordinarily, he would assume that House had gotten Cameron to call up the florist and arrange it all, but these days Cameron only has eyes for Chase and the way he won’t look her in the eye. They really should get back together, he muses, when he gets a spare few minutes away from worrying about the complicated mess the whole Cuddy situation is becoming without him even needing to lift a finger or open his mouth to exacerbate it. They should get together and have horribly idealistic, naïve fluffy-haired children. But Cameron won’t and although Chase doesn’t have the sense to notice this, blinded by love (or perhaps by sheer boredom and desperation – who can tell the difference any more), he must know that that isn’t going to happen.
Wilson knocks a mug off his desk and tells himself that he’s just sleep-deprived and stressed out by the flowers sitting there incongruously on top of the cabinet full of files on people who are all in various stages of becoming horribly dead, and not at all obscurely angry. He has no reason to be angry. And he could have had Cameron years ago if he’d wanted to. Maybe not Chase; but he’s been subtly laying groundwork for long enough.
That thought doesn’t help, but maybe it does explain what Wilson does next.
Chase is sitting out on the balcony, in spite of the fact that the weather recently has been foul and it’s unreasonably cold. He looks depressed and lost and Wilson studies him for a moment. It’s amazing that Chase has lasted as long as he has. This hospital should have chewed him up and spat him back out again years ago; House should have eaten him alive (and in theory, House has, and Chase is still here. Funny, that). Chase should at least have had an amusing personality change and become as sociopathic as Cameron. But he hasn’t. He hasn’t changed a bit, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t evolved or fallen apart or any of the stages in between. He’s got this unsettling equilibrium that Wilson both pities and envies. Perhaps that’s the one good thing Chase’s parents have done to him. Fucked him over so badly that no one else can get close, no one else can unravel him any further. Chase is impervious to everything but the very deepest, darkest, most dangerous forms of betrayal.
In spite of this, though, Chase is still determinedly moping in the cold, and either deliberately ignoring Wilson, or being so miserable that he can’t see him at all. Wilson could choose not to meddle, but today he discovered that he can successfully wind-up House, and he’s on some kind of strange power trip. Or perhaps it’s nothing to do with that at all. It’s about the thing he’ll never let himself acknowledge, because it is too dangerous and too stupid to be allowed to exist. The thing that whispers in the back of his mind sometimes, when Chase isn’t being a feeble impressionable little boy with a grating accent and disgusting dress sense.
It is just a stupid thing, a little, ridiculous thing that doesn’t matter all that much because there is nothing actually likeable about Chase. Redeeming features are for other people, as far as Robert Chase is concerned.
“Are you actually in love with her?” Wilson asks, like he cares, because although everyone knows by now that he is in no way The Nice One, he is nonetheless obligated to ask these questions. If Chase were a sobbing nurse, they’d be in the cafeteria sipping coffee by now, and Wilson would be well on the way to screwing her in a janitor’s closet. Chase is a little too smart to fall for that one; but there are other loopholes, weak spots. Wilson just has to track one down.
“I don’t know.” Chase is studying his fingers, chewing his lower lip in a way that shouldn’t be distracting. “She won’t let me find out.”
Wilson resists the urge to roll his eyes.
“Cameron is the type to like big romantic gestures,” he suggests, because sometimes it’s fun actively telling cars to crash, deliberately derailing trains. He’s been subjected to the endless smugness of ChaseandCameron for weeks. He is entirely within his rights to do this (at least, he tells himself that).
Chase laughs humourlessly.
“Yeah,” he sighs, “Stolen flowers and corsages from disinterested bastards.”
[Ah. Cameron still has the corsage House gave her all that time ago. That’s interesting, and Wilson files it away to use later.]
“So,” Wilson begins, treading careful ground because he’s still not entirely sure what he’s doing, but Chase is too busy being morose to notice, “She obviously likes flowers.”
“Yeah.” Chase makes a sound that might once have been a laugh before it was strangled horribly. “But exactly where am I going to get flowers at this time of night?”
Wilson considers, just for a split second, not doing this. Because breaking Chase is not a nice thing to do and it cannot lead to anything productive or good.
“Well,” he says anyway, “I’ve got a whole bouquet in my office, actually.”
The startled hope in Chase’s eyes would probably make a lesser man bite his tongue out or, at the very least, back down, but Wilson isn’t House’s best friend and veteran of three catastrophically failed marriages for nothing.
“Do you want them?”
And Chase obviously doesn’t listen to the hospital gossip carefully enough, because otherwise he’d know better. He’d refuse. He’d notice what Wilson is doing. But he doesn’t. He even goes so far as to thank Wilson.
Wilson knows that this is going to end in tears. But as long as he isn’t the one crying, it really doesn’t matter. He settles down with a mug of coffee and flicks through a medical journal he’s already read four times and hasn’t gotten around to filing or recycling yet, and waits. It won’t take long. It won’t take long at all.
Chase returns with the world’s most broken expression on his face, and if Wilson hadn’t given up on guilt somewhere around the end of his first marriage, he’d be feeling mildly ashamed of himself for setting Chase up like that. As it is, he simply watches Chase’s bleak despair, and waits.
“She doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me,” Chase announces, tone so desperately colourless, “And she took the flowers anyway.”
Wilson sometimes wonders, in a disinterested fashion when there’s nothing better to do, why Chase is still surprised when the world does cruel and unusual things to him. It’s not an adorable character flaw; it’s unbelievably horrible, and House should have been able to stamp it out years ago.
Wilson is too much of a gentleman to point this out. All he says is: “I’m sorry.”
He doesn’t need to mean it. He just needs to sound like he does, and he puts a supportive hand on Chase’s shoulder. Chase’s eyes look up from Wilson’s warm, steady hand, not-quite meeting his gaze. His mouth is ever-so-slightly open. Wilson hates it. The thought that sometimes crosses his mind, when Chase’s mouth is wet with coffee, or stained and sticky from free clinic candy. Chase is in a terrible place right now, rejected by Cameron of all people, shaking almost imperceptibly, but shaking nonetheless, and his eyes are slightly hollow and so very blue.
Wilson notes, detached and maybe even a little bemused, that he’s never touched Chase before. Never had cause to. He didn’t even shake his hand at the interview because there was no interview (just one phonecall and no one’s sure what Rowan Chase actually said and when you get right down to it, it doesn’t matter any more). Chase’s shoulders give the impression of being firmly muscled but they’re not, not really; he’s sort of skinny and rather lost-looking.
To do anything at all right now would be to take utter unforgivable emotional advantage of Chase. But Wilson has spent a surprisingly large part of his adult life taking emotional advantage of people, and he is damned if he’s going to stop now. Once upon a time, he might have thought that this was wrong. It’s funny; the things House takes without you noticing.
Chase is broken, but he’s angry about it. That’s what is both sweet and unsettling about the people of Princeton/Plainsboro; they don’t take everything lying down. Why accept things as they are when they could be so much worse? Why not fuck everything up, just to see how bad it can get? It’s got to be more fun than just sitting and watching your happiness fall down the drain, in any case.
Chase is still staring at him as though trying to make a decision, and Wilson knows with absolute certainty that he will not make the right one, because he is unhappy. Crushing loneliness can make people do the strangest things. Wilson would know. Still, he squeezes Chase’s shoulder as though making some form of comforting gesture, lets go and takes a step back. It’s only a split second where it really could go either way; and Chase shatters.
“Wait,” he says softly, taking a step closer. He can’t seem to tear his gaze away from Wilson’s mouth, which is faintly gratifying. Wilson doesn’t say anything at all, doesn’t do anything, just breathes and waits for Chase to make the choice for them. It’ll save awkward questions tomorrow. Chase’s expression is surprisingly calculating, as though trying to work out every possible outcome. He’ll get all of them wrong, again, of course, but it’s sweet that he’s trying.
Wilson is still musing on the fact that Chase apparently thinks things through and yet still manages to fuck everything up, and whether this means that the guy truly is mentally unstable, when Chase apparently decides that nothing really matters because Cameron doesn’t love him. He moves quickly, fluidly, cupping Wilson’s face in his hands, and kissing him.
Well, Wilson thinks, Maybe there’s some hope for you after all.
They’re awkwardly similar in height, and Chase is cold and trembling and Wilson wonders what exactly Chase thinks he is going to get from this, then remembers that that bit doesn’t matter on any level. And then Chase’s mouth opens under his.
Things get a little bit messy after that. A little bit incoherent, in spite of Wilson’s very nearly careful planning. Well, he did his best. It’s hard to be in entirely mentally in control when your best friend’s gorgeous-but-faintly-incompetent employee is stumbling backwards across your office with his fist clenched in your shirt, as it turns out.
Wilson has a handful of Chase’s improbably soft blonde hair, and there are teeth biting into his lip and Chase is either groaning or complaining because the edge of Wilson’s desk is digging into his thighs (for some strange reason Wilson just can’t sympathise), and someone breathes God, and Chase actually rips Wilson’s shirt as he tries to pull it out of his slacks.
Wilson always did like what desperation does to people. And, when you get right down to it, Chase was never really all that well balanced to begin with.
Somehow, Chase has got Wilson’s tie wrapped around his hand, and when they break apart, breathing too hard, he manages something that might almost be a smile. Wilson has no idea what Chase thinks he has to smile about, but they’re connecting on something so much simpler than an emotional level, and with any luck they’ll be able to get through this with a minimum of actual coherent conversation. He’s in no fit state to pretend to care that Chase was stupid enough to fall for the one woman in the world completely and utterly immune to Chase’s tentatively naïve charm. He’s perfectly happy to abuse that fact, but doesn’t want to discuss it in any way, shape or form. So Wilson tugs Chase’s mouth back to his, swallowing whatever it was Chase was thinking about saying.
“We have to move,” Chase mumbles, pulling back eventually. His hair looks amusingly dishevelled and his shirt collar is torn. Wilson reflects that Chase probably has a point. Cameron may be a filthy exhibitionist (there’s no one on the nursing staff who hasn’t seen at least the beginning of The Sleep Lab Video), but he isn’t.
“I’m living in a hotel room,” he offers. After all, it might be fun to have a valid reason to hang the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door; and it’ll definitely discourage Chase from attempting to stay for breakfast.
“Does it have glass walls?” Chase asks.
“What kind of hotels do you normally stay in?” Wilson enquires before he can stop himself, and Chase laughs.
“Sounds perfect,” he says. “You can drive.”
In the morning, Wilson lends Chase an unironed shirt, kicks him out of his hotel room without offering him any coffee, and attempts to make it fairly clear without actually saying words that this won’t happen again. It doesn’t matter, though, because Chase is, in fact, not entirely stupid (although he is pretty good at getting the wrong impression and completely and utterly misreading other people’s emotions, which is what got him here in the first place), and he must have realised that whatever the hell this was, it wasn’t going to last.
Wilson half expects House to come up to him over the course of the morning, and tell him off for breaking his favourite toys. Cameron is melancholy and monosyllabic but no longer snapping at everyone in sight, and Chase is calm (he still isn’t stable, but at least he’s quieter about it now) and is thankfully not staring at her like a kicked puppy. Things are well on their way to being normal again (or whatever the hell passes for normal here, which is still pretty damn weird and dysfunctional but at least they’re all used to it by now), and House doesn’t like normal. It’s no fun to fuck with. But House doesn’t come and shout at him, either because he’s too busy thinking about other things to notice that Chase and Cameron are no longer at each other’s throats, or because he hasn’t traced the sudden morose truce back to Wilson yet (though he will. He always does).
In fact, it’s Foreman who appears mid-morning, with a hot mug of coffee made exactly the way Wilson likes it and an amused expression on his face.
“Thank you,” he says, with a little smile. Wilson didn’t do any of it to help Foreman get some peace and quiet but he shrugs and accepts the coffee anyway.
And then, simply for lack of anything else to do, he wanders downstairs and goes to flirt with Cuddy. After all, this is Princeton/Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, and Wilson is as bad as the rest of the staff; why take things as they are when they could be so much more complicated?