Title: Eye Contact

Author: vegemite

Rating: K

Summary: They won't even look at him anymore. Chase POV, very slight Chameron at the end. Spoilers for Autopsy.

Disclaimer: If only, if only...

A/N: I loved the scene where Chase kissed Andie, and it made me really think about Chase's character. And here we go.

No one will look at him in the eye anymore.

Well, that's not quite true. Cuddy does, but that's only because she doesn't know. If she did, she'd probably think he was disgusting like the rest of them. And he'd probably lose his job.

And, okay, House does too, but House has always looked people in the eye. He's got this strange ability to make people crack with a well-placed emotion reflected through his glare. But House isn't looking at him as much as usual, not even to call him a weasel, as he so regularly used to.

Cameron, Foreman, and Wilson are the ones who are really depriving him of eye contact. Wilson knows because House couldn't help gossipping. At least Cameron and Foreman know to keep their mouths shut, because if this gets too far around, he's dead.

They sit in the lab. He and Cameron. Their newest patient needs some blood work done.

"Nothing. Again. Why does House always run a million tests when he knows it's not anything we're testing for?"

"Because the cases we get are never anything there's a test for. But just in case it is, we test."

"It was a rhetorical question. Teacher's pet," he mutters. There is silence as he resets the machine and gets ready for another test. Then Cameron pipes up.

"Why did you kiss Andie?" The question catches him off guard and he can't speak for a few seconds. She swivels in her chair and stares at him until he finally speaks.

"...I told you why. She asked, and--"

"No," she says, very firmly. "I mean, what made you do it. I know you couldn't have wanted to. You're not that sick."

"Oh--oh, thanks. That really makes me want to talk to you about it." He goes back to his tests angrily, brow furrowed.

"Sorry..." She rolls her eyes (he can hear it in her voice) and he doesn't want to take it any more.

"All you and Foreman have done is given me crap about this. I think Wilson's too embarrassed to speak to me. House is the only one who doesn't seem the least bit put off that I granted a dying girl's wish."

"Chase, you kissed her."

"I know!" He slams his hand on the table. "Of course I know! And of course I hate it. But I did it, and I'm glad I did. I'll never do it again, but I won't regret it."

She seems a little taken aback, but not enough to throw her off track.

"Is that why you did it?"

He sighs. "What do you mean? It wasn't so I could play hero, if that's what you're implying." He mutters curse words very quietly to himself, and she begins to turn away.

"I did it because she needed me." Cameron looks back at him, but after so little eye contact for so long, he can't stand to look at her as he speaks. "She was too afraid to ask another kid, but she was brave enough to ask me. And she was so strong with everything else, but she sounded so terrified that she would die without ever kissing a boy."

Cameron seems to contemplate this. "You kissed her out of pity."

Now it's his turn to roll his eyes. "You can't read anyone who's not dying, can you? I didn't kiss her because I was sorry for her." He stops, unable to speak. He puts his head in his hands. "I did it...because I was proud of her." She's silent, so he has to continue. "She was so brave, so strong. And...I wanted to do it for her. She never asked for anything, she never complained, she never cowered. I was proud of her. She deserved it." He turns and looks at her. "And I'm not apologizing."

She averts her eyes. He doesn't know if she even cares what he said. Like the rest of them, she just judges him without knowing the full picture. He doesn't know why he bothers.

He turns back to his tests. The room is coldly silent, until there's a soft rustling, and then her hand is on his shoulder. He tries to ignore her, but she whispers in his ear.

"You did the right thing." The moment draws out, and her hand is still on his shoulder and he's still pretending to ignore her.

He turns, and looks her straight in the eye.