Okay, here's the second and final part. I hope you enjoy it. First off, though…
Mollisk: No, it's not slash. Don't worry, I haven't slashed this show…yet.
Nemesis' Arrow: Glad you like it.
rascalflattsgurl43: I'm happy you like it.
Catherine3: Yay, a long review! Hehe, these are always my favorites. House was probably the hardest person to write; I didn't want him to be too OOC, which is difficult in a fic like this. I'm going for reluctantly affectionate, which I think is really the way he acts towards Chase anyway. Yeah, the women's bathroom scene is pretty funny. My goal is to send this fic to David Shore and maybe (In my wildest fangirl fantasies) it'll be made into an episode. I do plan to write some more House fanfiction, but chances are it won't be as medically involved as this one is. Thank you for reviewing, I hope you enjoy the update!
TonkyHonk: The wait is over!
Secretchild: I'm glad. Is this soon enough?
ILuvPiratesSavvy: First off…love the username. Love it. Are you a Pirates of the Caribbean fan, by any chance? I can't get enough of them, either. Hehe.
Rather Dashing: Yes, because Chase is pretty. Hehe. I'm glad people are saying House is in-character…Here ya go.
Reader: Yay for solid writing! All you Chase fans, rock on. Assuming I don't kill him off…muweheheh…just kidding, I'd never do that.
ElveNDestiNy: ANOTHER Chase fan? Wow, what TOOK you guys so long? J/K. Well, I always love to get long reviews, so feel free to write a long one when you review this chapter. Good luck with your story, if you tell me the title I'll be happy to read it.
Dru: Er…thank you. I'm flattered. (nervously edges away from Dru's grip on her knees) You're right, though. It's too bad that there aren't that many Chase fics around here—and trust me, I've looked. I love House/Chase fluff, but I didn't want to do it in my first House fic, and I like the idea of House just being House, and Chase being Chase, but House's attitude towards Chase shifting a bit when he realizes he might lose him. So no dramatic love confessions, no slash, just (hopefully) semi-canon behavior from both of them. I'm glad you're enjoying it.
Alright, there's that. So, here's chapter 2. Enjoy!
"What are you doing?"
Cameron glanced up, surprised by Chase's sudden question. His voice sounded tired, but that didn't particularly surprise her. "You're awake?"
"Clearly." He pushed himself upright with his arms, leaning against the pillows.
"How do you feel?" She touched his forehead with the back of her hand, more of a motherly gesture than a medical one. "You still have a fever. Have you been coughing less?"
"I've been asleep;" Chase pointed out, just before breaking into an almost ironically timed fit of coughing. He covered his mouth with one hand, turning his head and dislodging Cameron's hand in the process. The immunologist stayed beside him, patting his back and threading her fingers through his hair.
"Can you breathe?" She asked him when the coughing died down.
He nodded, not yet daring to talk. He breathed shakily for a moment. "I'm alright." He took a few more shuddering breaths. "I think."
She regarded him uncertainly for a moment, then bit her lip. "House wants me to take a blood sample. Is that alright?"
He raised his eyebrows. His voice was hoarse when he spoke, but the words were so like him that Cameron didn't worry. "I hope you don't give all your patients the option of having blood drawn."
She rolled her eyes. "I should pull a House and just stick you with the needle for that."
Chase chuckled softly. "You wouldn't be able to come up with a sarcastic remark to follow it up."
Cameron tried to look hurt, but failed and smiled. "I never could argue with a sick person." She slid on a pair of gloves and reached for the bottle of rubbing alcohol. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed how tightly his fists were clenched as she cleaned his arm. "You're afraid of needles." It wasn't a question.
He looked away. "Just do it."
She studied his profile, hesitating, then uncapped the needle and gently inserted it into Chase's arm. The younger doctor bit his lip, closing his eyes. Cameron touched his shoulder with her free hand, comfortingly.
The vial filled, and Cameron withdrew the needle, holding a cotton swab against the puncture and putting a band-aid over it. "Done." She smiled jokingly. "Was that so bad?" He didn't reply, but one of his hands went to his throat. She frowned. "Chase?" She touched his arm, and his only response was for his eyes to fly open as he choked, gasping. "Chase!"
House looked up to find himself looking directly into a large, welcoming pair of breasts. "Hello, there;" he said to them. "You have no idea how long I've waited for this day to come."
"Ahem." The owner of the breasts, now revealed to be a clearly irritated Lisa Cuddy, glared at him.
He sighed. "I knew it was too good to be true." He reclined back in his chair. "If it's sex you want, it'll have to wait until later. Wilson and I hired a stripper, and they should be getting back any minute now."
Cuddy rolled her eyes. "Don't you just wish." She crossed her arms and regarded him calmly. "About Dr. Chase."
"Brilliant doctor. Lacking a bit in the personality department, but at least he's pretty. Isn't he a bit young for you, though?" He raised his eyebrows.
"I don't know if you should be the one who treats him."
All joking vanished from House's face. "You let me treat my ex-girlfriend's husband, but you won't let me treat my own intensevist?"
Cuddy frowned. "You were an emotional wreck after you treated Stacy's husband. And if—Heaven forbid—Chase died, you would—"
"I thought you were the one who said that there probably wasn't anything wrong with him." House interrupted.
"It's hypothetical." Cuddy said, sighing. "The point is, if some reason he died under your care, you'd blame yourself and—"
"In order to feel guilty, I'd have to actually care about him in the first place." House pointed out.
Cuddy snorted. "Stop kidding yourself."
He was spared from answering by the shrill beeping of his pager. He shifted to look at it, then bolted to his feet as quickly as his bad leg would allow. "We need to go."
"What's going on?" House demanded, all but crashing into Chase's room.
"He's going into cardiac arrest;" Foreman said shortly, rapidly hooking up the defibulator.
House's eyes flew to Cameron. "How?"
"I don't know!" She said, frantically ripping open the front of Chase's hospital gown. "He just seized up out of nowhere and—"
"Clear!" House interrupted, grabbing the paddles from Foreman and pressing them briefly against Chase's chest. Chase's body arched up and dropped limply back down. House glanced at the monitors. "Dammit. Charging—clear!" He looked at Cameron. "Anything?"
She shook her head, eyes wide. "Once more." It was nearly a plea.
"Charging—clear!" The heart monitor's flat tone spiked, and returned to a steady, if slow, rhythm. House sighed in relief and sagged back against Foreman, half-wondering when he had dropped his cane. The neurologist held his arm until Cuddy handed him the discarded cane, and he straightened. "How is he?"
Cameron checked the monitors. "Blood pressure at 70 over 40 and climbing, pulse at twenty." She ran a shaking hand through her hair. "We almost lost him;" she said softly, as if in awe.
House limped to the head of the bed to study the intensevist. Chase was still eerily pale, his breath coming in ragged gasps. His eyes were closed, dark lashes forming stark semi-circles against his skin. "Cameron, did you get that blood sample?" He asked, his eyes never straying from Chase's face.
"Yes. I managed to get it capped before he…" She trailed off, then cleared her throat. "I have it."
"Bring it down to the lab. I want it tested for HIV, drugs, antibodies…anything that'll give us a clue to what we're dealing with. Foreman, go into my office and get Chase's file. Find his emergency contacts and call them, tell them what's going on." Neither of them answered, simply left. House waited until the clicking of Cameron's heels and Foreman's light steps had faded before addressing his boss. "Cuddy."
"Save it." She sighed heavily, blowing a lock of hair out of her face. "He's your patient, House. Do what you think is right." She left.
House returned his gaze to chase, slowly reaching out and resting a hand on the burning forehead. His finger sifted through blond hair, and he sighed. "You;" he said decisively; "are more trouble than you're worth."
Foreman was just hanging up the phone when House entered the conference room.
"Well?" House said expectantly, plopping down into the first chair he grabbed.
"I just got off the phone with Simon Lawrence;" Foreman began.
"Am I supposed to know who that is?"
"I'd tell you, if you gave me a second to finish talking." Foreman retorted.
House rolled his eyes. "Then by all means, pray continue."
"Thank you." The neurologist said sarcastically. "Simon Lawrence is Chase's best friend; he lives up on Long Island. I think they went to college together in London."
"How fascinating. Is he coming?"
Foreman nodded. "Yes, he's coming. I reached his cell phone, and according to him he was getting in the car when we hung up." He rubbed his temples briefly, then looked at House, an almost hopeful look in his eyes. "Do you know what's wrong with him?"
House hesitated, then sighed. "No. Not yet."
"He's HIV negative." Cameron announced abruptly as she walked into House's office.
If the news had any effect on the diagnostician, he didn't show it. "Did he test positive for anything else?"
She shook her head. "Negative for all the antibodies we tested for." She took her eyes off the test results to look at him, her eyes wide with concern. "House…what if we can't diagnose him? What if—"
"Snap out of it." He said sharply, cutting her off in mid-sentence. "You're a doctor, Cameron. You don't have the liberty to focus on the 'what-ifs'. Got it?"
She nodded, taken aback. "You're right. I…I'm sorry."
He waved the apology off. "You don't have the liberty to be sorry, either. Still have that blood sample?"
"Run an occult blood test. Check for signs of gastrointestinal bleeding." He tapped his cane against the floor. "After that, go down to the lobby and find Chase's friend. Chances are he's wandering around in the waiting room, making trouble."
Cameron was back in the lobby fifteen minutes later, after being kicked out of the lab by the technicians who were getting annoyed by the immunologist's fidgeting. She sighed, sipping at the cappuccino she had picked up in the cafeteria. Her concern for her Australian co-worker was making her antsy, and she knew it.
"Um…excuse me, doctor?" A hand touched her shoulder gently.
She looked up. The man who had spoken was about Chase's age, tall and lean, with dark brown hair pulled into a small ponytail at the nape of his neck. He had bright, expressive brown eyes, which at the moment were filled with worry and nervousness. Wearing jeans and a grey hooded sweatshirt, he looked out of place with the surrounding doctors. Cameron forced a smile. "What can I help you with? Check-in is over there, you'll have to wait for a free receptionist…"
A distinctly British accent was audible with the man's next words. "I'm looking for a Dr. Cameron, and I was wondering if you could tell me where I could find him or her?"
"I'm Dr. Cameron;" she supplied, hoping that this man wasn't the product of one of Chase and Foreman's matchmaking schemes. "What can I do for you?"
He seemed to relax a bit. "I spoke to Dr. Foreman on the phone, and he said to find you when I got here. I'm Simon Lawrence."
She stood. "Chase's friend, right?"
He nodded, and his light smile faded. "Is he…"
She sighed. "He's stable. That's really all I can tell you right now. You can see him."
Simon nodded again, clearly trying to force a smile and failing. "That's why I'm here."
"Your blood test came back negative for HIV." House said, tapping Chase's file against his hand. "That means that you don't have HIV, which means that you don't have an opportunistic infection resulting from HIV, which means that you don't have AIDS."
"You thought I had AIDS?" Chase's eyes went wide.
"Relax. We were just being open to all possibilities." House rolled his eyes. "Besides, I said you didn't have AIDS. Would it kill you to pay attention?"
Chase smiled lightly. "I never really thought about the hell our patients go through, with all the tests we submit them to. I guess I have a better idea of how they feel now."
House snorted. "Well, when you're done dying and you're back on your feet, you can share your newfound empathy with them. I'm sure they'll appreciate it."
"Assuming I end up back on my feet." Chase said softly.
House frowned, detecting the change in Chase's tone. "Why wouldn't you be? Planning on crawling around on your knees?"
"You just said it yourself—for all you know, I'm dying." Fever-bright blue eyes met House's. "You don't know what's wrong with me."
House couldn't lie to him. "You're right. I don't." He didn't break eye contact. "But you aren't going to die."
Chase raised his eyebrows. "How do you know?"
"Because I said so." House said firmly.
Chase rolled his eyes. "I didn't know you cared."
"I don't. I just don't feel like hiring a new intensevist, which is what I'll have to do if you die. And people with all the right criteria are hard to come by." House explained calmly.
Chase smiled. "Right. However could I have mistaken your professional concern for actual—"
Two sets of blue eyes flashed to the doorway, and Chase's widened. "Simon?"
Simon all but ran to him, looking him over. He placed one hand on Chase's arm, sitting down on the side of the bed. "Bloody hell, mate, you look awful."
Chase laughed softly. "Flattery was always your strong point, wasn't it?" His eyes turned serious. "How did you know I was here?"
"Dr. Foreman called me…"
While the two engaged in quiet conversation, House stood and headed for the door. Cameron glanced at him. "Where are you going?"
"One insane British person is bad enough. I hardly want to be in a room with two of them." House said simply, and limped from the room.
"I'm not British!" Chase called after him.
House stopped, and looked over his shoulder. "I know you're not."
And he left, leaving a blinking Australian behind him.
"So let me get this straight;" Wilson took a sip of his coffee. "Your intensevist could be dying. You've run every test in the book, and they've all come back negative. You essentially have no idea what you're dealing with. Is that right?"
House poured another packet of sugar into his coffee. "That's right."
"So why the hell are you sitting out here on a coffee break if that's what's going on?" Wilson asked incredulously.
House shrugged. "I though maybe you'd have some ideas."
Wilson leaned back in his chair. "You mean you don't?"
House shook his head. "I don't know."
Wilson looked taken aback, and didn't speak for a moment. His voice was quiet when he next spoke. "It's pretty scary to hear you say that."
House honestly couldn't come up with a snarky remark. "It's scary saying it;" he admitted.
"Excuse me…Dr. House?"
He glanced up to see Chase's friend. "What do you want?" Wilson kicked his good leg under the table, and he sighed. "Fine." He glared briefly at Wilson, then looked back at Simon. "Simon Lawrence, right?"
Simon nodded. "Yes. Ah…may I?" He indicated the empty seat next to House.
"Sure, why the hell not?" Another kick.
"What my friend here means to say is of course, have a seat." Wilson shot House a look—which House answered by sticking out his tongue and making a face—and turned to Simon, extending his hand. "I'm Dr. Wilson, by the way."
"Simon." They shook hands. "Are you one of Rob's doctors?"
"Not officially." Wilson drained the rest of his coffee. "But I've worked with Dr. Chase and I'd certainly be sorry to lose him, so I'm helping with the case."
"So, then;" House cleared his throat, not one to be left out. "Mr. Lawrence—"
"Dr. Lawrence." Simon corrected.
"Dr. Lawrence?" House raised an eyebrow. "Doctor of what?"
"Mycology?" Wilson looked interesting. "That's…the study of fungus, right? Interesting."
Simon nodded. "Yeah. I got my PhD a few years back."
"What exactly made you want to sit around and poke fungus all day?" House's voice contained a distinct hint of disgust.
Simon grinned. "In all due truthfulness? Just to make my sister squirm. She hates it." His grin faded, and he fiddled with the drawstring on his hood. "Rob…Rob said that you didn't know what was wrong with him." He looked at House. "Is that true?"
House would have given anything to say that it wasn't. "Yes. It is."
"The occult was negative." Cameron said, plopping down in House's swivel chair.
"What does that mean?" Foreman asked.
"It means it's not gastrointestinal bleeding." House said, frowning at Cameron.
She surrendered the chair and settled herself on House's desk. "Which means we're back to having absolutely no idea what's wrong with him." She added softly.
Foreman looked surprised, than looked down at his hands.
An unusual silence settled through the room.
House let his eyes shift, wandering around the room and looking for anything—anything—that could give him a hint.
His eyes settled on a potted plant. Cameron had brought the flowering cactus in that winter, to "brighten the room", he recalled.
It clicked. He surged to his feet.
Chase and Simon looked up in surprise when House all but crashed into the room.
Cutting off the onslaught of "are you all rights", House cut right to the point. "Dr. Lawrence, have you ever shown any of your various fungi friends to Chase?"
Simon blinked. "I…yeah, sometimes. Every now and then I'll bring something new over, but I haven't recently."
Chase frowned. "Wait…you did bring that one by my apartment a few weeks back…" He thought for a moment, the lines of concentration easing the lines of pain on his face. "Cocci-something…"
"Coccidioides immitis." Simon nodded. "I remember. It grows in Mexico and the Southwestern US." He looked at House, confused. "But why does that matter?"
"Coccidiodomycosis." House slapped his internet findings down on the table. "Caused by inhaling the pollen of the coccidioides immitis fungi. Chase probably breathed some of it in while he and his British boyfriend were poking at it." He sighed. "When will children learn not to poke Mexican plants?"
"Are you sure that's what he has?" Cameron asks nervously. "If we're wrong, the treatment could—"
"He shows all the symptoms, including the thin cavities that the chest scan showed." House shrugged. "As for the treatment…if it works, great, if it doesn't, I get sued. Good thing Cuddy put aside all that money for my legal expenses."
"You can't just shrug this off!" Foreman protested. "This isn't just some meaningless patient, this is Chase."
Cameron nodded her agreement. "Foreman's right. Are you sure you want to risk it?"
House took a breath, and released it. "It's dangerous;" he admitted. "But if I am right, he'll die without the treatment. And I can't have that, because I'm too lazy to do more job interviews. It was annoying enough after you" he nodded at Cameron "left, and if he's dead I can't date him to get him to come back. So;" he stood. "Start him on amphotericin B."
House stopped by Chase's room the next evening on his way out of the clinic. The Australian was sitting on the edge of the bed, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, tying the laces on his sneakers. House leaned against the doorframe. "You're being discharged?"
Chase nodded, straightening. "The nurse said that you gave your permission for me to go home, since the treatment was working."
House limped over, taking a seat next to Chase on the bed. "Where's Dr. Lawrence?"
"Simon? He went to get his car." He gave House a slight smile. "He doesn't trust me to drive home by myself. He's going to stay at my place for a day or two, then head back to New York."
"Smart guy." House tossed his cane back and forth between his hands. "You're feeling better, then?"
"Thanks to you." They sat in silence for a few moments. "House…it's never going to be the same between us, is it?" Chase's voice was soft. "Since that whole Vogler thing?"
"Probably not." House admitted.
"Are you ever going to trust me again?"
It was a moment before House spoke again. "We'll see."
Simon tapped at the doorframe to announce his arrival. "Ready to go?"
Chase nodded. Simon crossed the room and took Chase's arm, pulling him gently to his feet.
As they reached the door, House spoke up. "Dr. Chase."
Chase glanced over his shoulder. "Take the rest of the week off. I want to see you back first thing Monday morning."
Chase smiled. "I'll see you at eight."
Ending Notes: Well, from the reviews, this was pretty well-liked. I'm glad everyone enjoyed it, and I hope the ending was alright, personally I thought it was a bit choppy. Well, I guess I'll see you all around with my next House fic. Bye everyone!