Title: Grip

Fandom: House, M.D.

Genre: General

Rating: PG-13

Pairings: none

Summary: Dr. Chase has played an important role in solving all the "medical mysteries" bombarding the team. But when all of a sudden Chase is the victim, can House crack a case without him?

Warnings: some foul language, crude humor, and medical terms

Author's Mindless Babbling: Okay, here it is: my first House fic. I actually had to research for this fic. Like I said, this is my first fic in this fandom so I hope you'll go easy on me.

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Chase coughed.

Cameron looked at him and frowned. "Are you alright?"

He cleared his throat. "Yeah." He glanced at his watch, and then up at the clock on the wall for confirmation. "Quarter of nine;" he commented. "House isn't here yet?"

Cameron pursed her lips, sighing. "No."

"And he yells at us. The bloody asshole." There was no spite in his words, though, and Chase moved to peer over Cameron's shoulder at her clipboard. "What do we have today, anything?"

"Fortunately for you;" House said from the doorway "we don't have any bloody assholes. If we did, you'd be the one going in to sew them up." He limped into the room and almost playfully tapped Chase on the head with a red folder before settling himself in one of the chairs. "Thirty-two-year-old female, five-foot-seven, 135 pounds. Came in about half an hour ago, coughing up blood." He surveyed them expectantly. "Any ideas?"

"Pneumonia?" Cameron suggested.

"No fever, blood tested negative. What else?"

"Could be advanced tuberculosis." Foreman mused. "Has she been vaccinated?"

Chase looked at him skeptically. "Do you honestly think you're going to get a rational answer to that out of a woman who's coughing up blood?"

"I don't see you coming up with anything;" Foreman shot back.

Chase paused for a moment, thinking. "It's clearly a respiratory infection, possibly a broken blood vessel in the lungs. Might be a pulmonary embolism." He leaned back in his chair. "We should get a CT scan of the lungs and an MRI. We'll have a better chance of treating her when we know what we're dealing with."

House nodded. "And that was what I was looking for." He pushed himself up. "Get the tests scheduled, I'll check in later."

Chase frowned, looking up at him. "Where are you going?"

"I am going to get some coffee. You are going to cover for me if Cuddy asks." Not hearing any protest, House nodded his approval before limping out of the room.

Foreman rolled his eyes as soon as House was out of earshot. "I hate being his lackey."

Chase smirked slightly, and Cameron frowned. The frown deepened, though, as Chase's light laugh turned into a cough. When half a minute had gone by and the younger doctor still hadn't caught his breath, Cameron began to look worried. "Chase, are you alright?" He managed to shake his head, and Cameron was on her feet in an instant, one hand on his shoulder. "Foreman, get him some water!"

Foreman was a step ahead of her, forcing a plastic cup of water into Chase's hand and firmly instructing him to drink it.

Chase took the water and chugged it gratefully, gasping for air. He took a few shaky breaths before relaxing, closing his eyes and placing the cup on the table as the trembling fingers of one hand massaged his throat. "I'm sorry about that. I…I don't know what happened."

"Are you feeling alright?" Cameron asked, her brow furrowing in concern. She reached out to lay the back of her hand against his forehead. "You don't have a fever."

"I think I just inhaled the wrong way;" he said, smiling reassuringly and standing up. "I'm going to go see about the MRI. Foreman, can you schedule the CT?"

The older man nodded. "Sure."

Cameron stood. "What should I do?"

Chase shrugged. "Go talk to the patient, see if you can calm her down."

She frowned. "You know I'm not that good at bedside comforting…"

Chase gave her an almost House-like grin. "There's a bit of Florence Nightingale in everyone, Cameron." He waved and left, Foreman at his heels.

Cameron sighed and neatly arranged some of the scattered pieces of paper on the conference room paper. "Boys."

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Angela Brown was much calmer by the time Chase went in to see her. She greeted him with a weary smile and a slightly hoarse "Good morning, Doctor."

Chase hooked one foot around a stool and dragged it over to the bed, sitting down. "Good morning, Mrs. Brown."

"You're a different doctor than before;" Angela noted.

He smiled. "Yes, Dr. Cameron wanted me to brief you on the tests we're going to run. I'm Dr. Chase."

She inclined her head slightly. "I'd introduce myself, but my name's on the file."

"So I noticed. It's good to know your sense of humor is still intact." He flipped the file open, scanned it briefly, then closed it. "Alright. Before we start, are there any other symptoms you've noticed since coming here? Besides the obvious;" he added as an afterthought.

Angela shrugged, wincing at the motion. "It hurts a bit when I breathe."

Chase nodded. "A sharp pain, or a dull one?"

"Sharp."

"Alright." He made a note of it on the cover of the folder. "We're going to do a scan of your lungs, as well as an MRI and some X-rays. None of these tests are painful, so there's nothing to worry about. We're basically just taking a bunch of pictures." He brushed his bangs away from his face with the back of his hand. "Are you allergic to any medications?"

She seemed to think for a moment. "Ibuprofen?"

Chase scribbled "ibu-allergic" on the file, then stood. "Alright then, Mrs. Brown, I think that's about it. Your tests aren't scheduled to start for about an hour, so you can relax." He paused at the door. "Is there anyone you'd like us to call, to let them know that you're here?"

"My husband;" For the first time, she looked scared. "I'd like him to come and be with me."

Chase nodded, smiling. "I'll call him myself."

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House came over just as Chase was hanging up the phone. "I don't think you're on break just yet."

Chase glanced at him. "I'm not." He started back towards Angela Brown's room.

House fell into step beside him, and Chase unconsciously slowed his pace to match House's. "So, who were you having phone sex with? And on the job, no less."

The Australian rolled his eyes. "I was calling Angela Brown's husband, if you must know."

House frowned. "Whose husband?"

"Angela—" He sighed. "The blood-coughing lady."

"Oh, her." House raised an eyebrow. "She's not even dead yet, and you're already moving in on her husband? I'm impressed. I knew you were kinky after the whole dominatrix thing, but I didn't know you were into guys."

Chase stopped short, gaping at him. "What?"

House snapped his fingers. "You know, I guess that does explain why you and Foreman are always running off together. I was beginning to wonder why you never whined when I sent you two off to—" Chase cut him off by breaking down into a fit of coughing. House nearly brushed it off as faking, but then paused, listening carefully. It was a wet, wracking cough, and Chase was doubled over, one hand over his mouth and gasping for air. "Chase;" House said, reaching out to touch Chase's shoulder. The younger doctor knocked the hand away, turned, and unwisely ran, making it to the nearest bathroom before dropping to his knees and vomiting into the closest toilet.

Limping House followed him into the bathroom. Leaning against the front of one of the sinks, he sighed and said amiably "You don't take jokes very well."

Violent choking answered him, and he nearly cringed. He crossed the bathroom to the water cooler near the wall, pouring a plastic cup of water.

When the sounds of retching finally stopped, Chase flushed the toilet and stumbled over to the sink. He turned the tap on with his elbow and leaned over, splashing cold water over his hands and face.

"Here;" House said gruffly, handing him the cup. The younger doctor accepted it without a word, and took a careful sip, careful not to force anything down. House took the silence as an opportunity to study the intensevist, blue eyes rapidly taking in sweat dampened hair, fever-bright eyes, and flushed skin. He sighed. "When do you have break?"

It was a very uncharacteristic question. Chase finished the water and answered wearily "In another hour."

"I'm letting you off early." Chase's eyes widened, and House shrugged. "It won't do me any good if you pass out on the job. Go lie down in my office, it's quieter."

The Australian doctor looked ready to protest, but thought better of it. "Thank you;" he said softly, and left.

House watched him go, then left the bathroom after him, nearly knocking Cuddy over as he did so.

The Dean of Medicine looked up at him, raising an eyebrow. "Dr. House. I don't suppose you'd like to tell me what you and Dr. Chase were doing in the women's bathroom?"

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Cameron looked at House in shock. "He's where?"

"Asleep in my office." House answered calmly. "After he threw up for five minutes straight, what would you have done?"

"Probably that;" she admitted. "But it's not what I expected?"

He shrugged. "I have my moments of compassion."

"Why not just send him home?"

"I'm not that compassionate." He settled back in his chair, and poked Foreman with his cane as the neurologist rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath. "Now, now, no need to fuss. You know I love all you little ducklings the same amount. You don't have to worry about me playing favorites."

Foreman glared at him. "Why would I worry about something like that?"

House waved his hands in mock fear. "Oh, I'm terrified. The wannabe car thief is going to hurt me."

"I could."

"Good for you, you can beat up a cripple. I'll have a certificate of honor printed up right away."

Cameron cleared her throat loudly before Foreman could retort. "I have Angela Brown's test results here."

House looked a bit disappointed about having his fun spoiled. Sighing, he looked at the brunette. "Well, they aren't going to read themselves."

She flushed and quickly looked down at the tests. "The CT was clear, no signs of tissue damage. Same with the MRI and X-ray." She looked at House.

He didn't hesitate. "Do you have the film?"

She blinked. "Yes." She handed the scans to him.

House switched on the overhead and slapped the photos on it. "Tell me what you see here."

Neither doctor spoke for a few moments.

Finally, Foreman answered. "A healthy pair of lungs;" he sighed, waiting for the correction.

He wasn't disappointed. "Wrong." He tapped a spot on the scan. "Look closer."

Cameron peered at it, then gasped as a light bulb went off in her head. "There's a sliver of one of the ribs missing. Just there." She pointed.

"And bingo was his name-o." House sat down on the edge of the table. "Little Angela clearly did something that forced her rib to crack, and never got it treated. Since it was never treated, the piece of bone broke off and did;" he paused. They didn't answer. "Well?"

"Punctured a hole in the lung?" Cameron guessed. "It explains the blood."

"But not the coughing;" Foreman argued.

House rolled his eyes, giving up on them. "Cameron was right about the hole. As for the coughing, it's bronchitis. Start her on antibiotics and schedule surgery to repair the lung." He glanced at the clock and sighed. "That was a waste of ten minutes. I could have diagnosed that in my sleep. Dr. Chase could have diagnosed that in his sleep."

Cameron raised her eyebrows. "Since when did you stick up for Chase?"

"Since I discovered that the intelligence level of this room decreases significantly when he's not here." He stood. "Well, naptime's over. Time to go give the Aussie a wake-up call." He limped out of the room.

As they stood up to follow him, Foreman leaned over to Cameron and whispered "Do you think he knows we know he's worried about Chase?"

Cameron merely smiled, picking up her stethoscope as they left the room.

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Chase was asleep when they reached House's office, curled up on the couch and using his lab coat as a blanket. He blinked sleepily at House when the diagnostician nudged him with his cane. "What?"

"Wakie wakie time." House told him.

Chase stretched languidly and sat up. "What time is it?"

"A little after eleven." Cameron said. "How are you feeling?"

"Cold;" he answered, shivering slightly. He picked up his lab coat and tugged it on. "Is the AC on in here?"

Foreman glanced at the thermostat on the wall and frowned. "No. It's almost 70 in here." He glanced at House.

House shrugged. "I like to think that if it's going to be sunny and 70 somewhere, it might as well be here."

Another shiver rippled through Chase's body. The Australian was shaking badly now, his fists clenched to keep them steady. "How can it be seventy? It's bloody freezing in—" His breath caught in his throat and he started coughing. His eyes widened suddenly and his hands flew to his throat as he choked for air.

Cameron leapt to her feet. "He can't breathe!"

House didn't waste a second, grabbing the stethoscope out of Cameron's hand and ripping open the collar of Chase's shirt to ram the bowl against the blonde's chest. He held Chase's shoulder steady with his free hand, straining to hear. His eyes widened slightly, the closest thing to an expression of panic anyone had ever seen on him. "Breathe, Chase." A note of worry crept into his voice. "Chase, you have to breathe!"

Foreman swore loudly, reaching behind Chase and clapping him firmly on the back. "Dammit, dammit, dammit—" each word was punctuated by a none-too-gentle (Chase would thank him for it later) slap. Whatever was clogging Chase's airways seemed to dislodge and he took a ragged, desperate breath, then another, frantically trying to get his lungs working again. His muscles seemed to fail him and he fell back, half against House and half against Foreman.

House eased his arm free, letting Foreman help the younger doctor into a sitting position while he listened to Chase's erratic heartbeat slowly return to normal. Finally, he pulled the stethoscope free and handed it back to Cameron. "Sorry about your shirt, Dr. Chase. Fortunately, you won't be needing it much longer."

Leaning against Foreman, Chase merely looked at him with tired, dull blue eyes.

"Well, you'll be in a hospital gown pretty soon;" House clarified. "Actually, as soon as Dr. Cameron comes back to tell us what room we're going to put you in."

Cameron caught the hint and left.

House waited until the sound of Cameron's footsteps faded before looking back at Chase. "You;" he said flatly; "are sick."

Chase shook his head. "Brilliant diagnosis, doctor." He tried to push himself up, only to be gently shoved back against Foreman. "I'm fine."

"Sure you are." House said sarcastically. "And I'm screwing Cuddy."

"We already knew that." Chase said. "Given up on Cameron, then, have you?"

House's eye gave an almost imperceptible twitch. "You know, you're supposed to wait until you hit puberty to ask questions about people's sex lives."

"And once you're a senile old man, you're not supposed to be answering them." Chase retorted.

House raised an eyebrow, inclining his head. "Touché."

Chase smirked ever-so-slightly, then shivered, hugging his arms against his chest.

"Are you alright?" Foreman asked, his grip on Chase's shoulder tightening.

"Cold;" Chase muttered, almost guiltily.

Foreman hesitated, then took off his lab coat and draped it around Chase's shoulders. Chase accepted it with a whispered word of thanks, his eyes fluttering closed.

House frowned, reaching over to flick Chase's bangs back. "Stay awake." Chase gave him a long-suffering look, and House felt his resolve cracking. "At least until Cameron gets back;" he compromised.

Chase nodded, his eyelids falling to half-mast.

Foreman's eyes met House's over the top of Chase's head. The hand that wasn't gripping Chase's shoulder sifted lightly through the blond hair to rest on Chase's forehead. "Fever."

House nodded, resting his chin on the handle of his cane and studying chase with calculating blue eyes.

He should have noticed that the Australian was getting far too pale.

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A cup of coffee was pressed into House's hand, and he glanced at Cameron. "What's this?"

She smiled at him. "Two sugar, no milk."

He cocked an eyebrow. "How'd you know how I like my coffee?"

"I have been working here for a year." She pointed out.

"Let me guess. Wilson told you?"

She gave him a wry smile. "Chase did, actually. Awhile back."

"Huh." He took a sip, eyes shifting to Chase through the clear glass of the door.

Cameron followed his gaze. "How is he?"

House shrugged. "Sleeping. Cuddy says not to run any tests just yet, considering he seems to just have bronchitis."

He took another sip. "Very, very sever bronchitis;" he mused.

Cameron looked up at him. "You're actually doing what Cuddy told you?"

"For now." He turned his eyes back to Chase. "She told me that if I went against her, she'd take me off the case."

The dark eyes widened. "So Chase is—"

"My patient. For now." House downed the rest of the coffee, sliding the door to Chase's room open and going inside. "Dr. Chase?"

Chase stirred, blinking. His eyes settled on House. "Am I allowed to get out of bed now? The nurse said—"

"The nurse said 'stay in bed'. I know. That's what I told her to tell you." House sat down on the stool. "Well?"

Chase looked at him. "Well what?"

"Well, you're sick, and I'd think that, you being an intensevist, you would have been doing some thinking." House looked at him expectantly.

The Australian fell quiet, a thoughtful expression crossing his features. When he spoke, it was quietly. "The only logical explanation I can think of is bronchitis that I've ignored for too long."

House raised an eyebrow. "Nothing else?"

Chase shrugged. "There aren't any symptoms for anything else."

"None that have shown up." House tapped his cane against the floor. "What other problems do you have, besides the coughing?"

Chase counted them off on his fingers, as calmly as a mother listing her child's chores. "Chest pain, fever, drowsiness, dizziness, shortness of breath—" he thought for a moment. "That's about it."

"Well, that gives us some other options right there." House tossed his cane in the air, let it twirl, and caught it. "All of those could point to pneumonia, tuberculosis, pulmonary embolisms, lung cancer, all those fun little diseases."

"Optimistic, aren't you?" Chase asked dryly.

"Just keeping the options open." He twirled the cane again.

"Regretting your decision to not do cheerleading in high school?"

House raised an eyebrow. "I'll have you know that I happened to be quite prominent in the cheerleading squad at my high school."

Chase blinked. "Really?"

House snorted. "We'll add 'gullible' to your list of symptoms." He pushed himself up. "Go to sleep. I'll be back to interrogate you some more later."

The intensevist rolled hiseyes and turned over, pulling the blankets over his head.

House limped out of the room, sliding the door closed behind him. Cameron was waiting for him. Without giving her a chance to speak, he began barking out orders. "Remember what I said about Cuddy telling me not to run tests?"

"Yes;" she said suspiciously.

"Well, forget it. I want you to get a blood sample, scan for any antibodies you can think of. Get a CT too, of the lungs."

She fell into step beside him. "Don't you think we're reading too far into this? Maybe you should just give him some antibiotics and a few days off?"

He scoffed. "Days off? Honestly. I thought you knew me better than that."

Cameron smiled. "In other words, you want to keep him here so that you can keep an eye on him until he's well."

House sniffled in mock hurt. "Believe what you want." He turned, limping off in the direction of the cafeteria. "Get started on those tests."

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Okay, I was going to post the whole story at once, but…my hands hurt now. So you can expect the second part within the next few days.

Please, please, PLEASE review. This is my first House fic, and I want some feedback! Flames will be used to light Mimi's candle.