|[FIC] In Vice Versa (PG-13) House/Chase
||[Dec. 31st, 2007|12:12 pm]
ScotlandAussie's House M.D. FanWork
Title: In Vice Versa
Prompt: chase_fest Prompt #87: Remix the scene in Half Wit where Chase hugs House: House tells him "Well if you're considering grabbing my ass don't start anything you can't finish," but what if it's House who starts something by unexpectedly hugging Chase back.
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Pre House/Chase
Warnings: AU for episode 3x15 Half-Wit
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything
Summary: What if he hugged back?
Notes: For chase_fest Prompt #87, and for my un_love_you table Prompt #09 "Always wondered what this'd be like."
* * * * *
House was dying. Cancer, apparently. Chase couldn’t believe it. He felt numb. It wasn’t ever supposed to happen like this. There was supposed to be more time. He walked stiffly out of the elevator on the fourth floor, past Wilson’s office, past the Diagnostics conference room, to House’s office. He stood at the door for a few moments, hand on the cold stainless steel handle as he procrastinated. What was he even doing here? Trying to say goodbye? Apologise? To try and make House start to believe dying was a big deal? Or something else…?
He drew a deep breath through his nose and exhaled heavily as he turned the handle and stepped into the dimmed office. He was there, standing by the window. He wasn’t even looking out; he was reading some sort of magazine like nothing in the world had really changed.
He’d watched Chase’s reflection in the window, watching him approach, but didn’t turn around. Why did he always have to be so infuriating? Just once, couldn’t he be normal? Did Chase even want him to be normal? No, probably not. He stifled a sigh.
“Do you have to do that?”
There. He finally turns with the same blasé expression he’s sported for the last few days. Casual, an air of ‘I don’t give a shit, why are you bothering me?’ Next comes some analytical comment with the even more ‘I really don’t give a shit but you’re making me tolerate you’ tone of voice.
“You mean, cheapen everyone's attempt at a human moment by identifying the real calculations that go into it?”
Bingo. Just once, why couldn’t he shut up and take it?!
Chase’s reply is exasperated around the edges. He can’t stifle it. He felt like grabbing House and shaking him. He was dying, for fuck’s sake! How could anyone - even House – be so indifferent in the face of death?!
“Yeah! I do.”
Goddamnit! You bastard! Show some emotion! Chase’s own emotions crept up into his throat from somewhere in his chest and lodged themselves there like a lump. Just do it, Chase. He’s dying, even if he fires you for it it’s not going to matter, is it? You’ve wanted to for so long, now he’s terminally ill. As good a time as any, right? The worst he could really do is run straight to Wilson and mock Chase’s actions over stolen cafeteria food. What else was new? There will never be another chance. Do something. Show him in some way… any way…
“I'm sorry you're dying. I'm gonna hug you… Anything to say?”
Good. Let him think it’s really no big deal. Everyone hugs dying people, right? Cameron and Wilson do. House won’t think anything is in it. Why would there be anything in it? It’s just a hug for a dying person to show him you’re sorry he’s dying. There is nothing in it, and he won’t think anything beyond it being a well-planned, non-spontaneous hug of respect. For a dying person. One last chance… Just shut up, House. For once, keep your mouth bloody shut!
“Well, if you're considering grabbing my ass, don't start anything...”
Ignore it. Just do it. And quit sounding like a Nike advert in the process. Chase’s arms go around the taller man, holding tight. He’s fighting back tears. Of course he’s sad House is dying, but this wasn’t supposed to feel so good. Maybe if he didn’t let go, House wouldn’t be dying, he wouldn’t be about to lose another important person in his life, he wouldn’t have to think about lost opportunities… lost desires…
“... you can't finish.”
Keep ignoring him. You’re making him uncomfortable, so of course he can’t keep his mouth shut. It’s comforting, really. The sarcasm, the snark. That’s House. House who was dying. Chase firmed his grip, his fingers squeezing at House’s shoulder. No, he couldn’t be dying, not when this finally felt so good. It had been nearly a year since House had been shot and nearly died bleeding to death in front of them. Nearly a year of Chase harbouring unrequited feelings, all of which were bubbling up inside him and not letting him cease the hug. If he held on long enough, surely it would all change?
Then something shifted. Literally. House’s arms. Around him. What the hell?! Don’t say anything, Chase! Don’t move! The arms continued their path until they were settled snugly around Chase’s torso. Nothing was said. That in itself was a miracle. Chase too frozen in shock to work his mouth, and House hoping desperately the Aussie peon wouldn’t say anything.
The silence was almost screaming in Chase’s ears. His arms were still tightly encircled around House, and House now embracing back. What had just happened?
Chase’s foot tingled. He’d been standing in the same position too long. It was a brief shift, but he moved to replace his footing. A mistake. House’s arms dropped and he stepped away towards his desk. Chase opened his mouth to say something, though nothing but a tiny exhaled squeak of disbelief came out. He blinked as House shuffled some papers on his desk.
“Just think, wombat. We could’ve made it to second base if I wasn’t dying,” House commented. He looked up as he did, meeting Chase’s eyes. Something was in there, beyond the blue catching the dim light above.
Chase just swallowed and with a small shake of his head, turned and walked towards the door. He stopped, only briefly, to turn and catch House’s eyes again. A flicker of a smirk quirked on House’s lips. Chase merely frowned and left, the glass door swinging shut behind him.
- fin -
Author’s Note: This will be part of a continuing House/Chase series for my un_love_you table.