Pairing: House/Chase slash eventually
Rating and WARNING: R for violence and abusive relationship, but not extremely explicit.
Length: WIP, I imagine about seven parts.
Disclaimer: House and all its characters are, sadly, not mine.
Summary: "The bruise around his wrist was a faded yellow/green, and there was a roughness to it that suggested a burn.
House looked at him. 'New girlfriend? Which one of you should I be sending the leather stethoscope to?'"
AN: This will be finished, I promise, because its mostly plotted and about half-written, but I wanted some feedback as the subject matter was worrying me a bit.
House looked him up and down. 'Take off your shirt, Chase.'
- - - - - -
Three months earlier
Chase had been crying all day. Oh - not out loud, not even actual tears as far as House could tell. But his eyes were bright, and there was an agony in them that he couldn't hide behind the brittle look of contempt.
The contempt, real or not, was all directed at House and his none-too-subtle attempts to figure out what was wrong with Chase. House always felt that, perhaps by some kind of osmosis, knowledge should be in a continual flow in his direction. And Chase was not normally difficult to break.
In the event, it only took until late afternoon. It was their five pm whiteboard – of the "the patient was stable but now he's getting worse again" variety. House was bored, and they were getting nowhere with the patient, so he went back to prodding Chase, a little harder this time.
Chase looked down, his shoulders shaking a little. He cried three pained sobs, and then rubbed at his eyes once with his fist. When he looked back at House, with Cameron and Foreman watching in shock, the mask was back.
He met House's eyes, and this time the contempt was genuine. 'I'm taking a week's leave to organise my father's funeral.'
- - - - - - - -
'Are you out of your mind?'
- - - - - - - -
Two months and three weeks earlier
Chase, true to his word, had taken exactly one week to organise the funeral. He had returned to the states, told Cuddy that he didn't want any compassionate leave, and started back at work.
House watched him.
He watched as Chase shrugged off the compassion that Cameron offered, and even the grudging concern offered by Foreman. Watched as Chase went back to his job, quieter than before, but no more emotional. No fits of tears, sudden lapses of attention, not even any inappropriate anger. It was all very disappointing.
And all the time House watched as Chase failed, completely and utterly, to break down.
- - - - - - - -
'Take it off, Chase, or I'll do it for you.'
The slightest flicker of fear.
- - - - - - - -
Two months earlier
It wasn't much. Chase reached for a patient's file across the table, and his lab-coat rode up his arm. The bruise around his wrist was a faded yellow/green, and there was a roughness to it that suggested a burn.
House looked at him. 'New girlfriend? Which one of you should I be sending the leather stethoscope to?'
Chase didn't blush, which gave House a moment's pause. Then Chase hurriedly pushed the sleeve back down, and started reading from the file. House put the bruise to the back of his mind as he made the connection between Chase's pointed reading of the childhood allergies, and the blood his patient was currently spitting everywhere.
- - - - - - - - -
'That's sexual harassment.'
'No, sexual harassment is when I leer at your ass and call you pretty.'
- - - - - - - - -
One month earlier
'Taking personal calls during office hours?' House tutted.
'I'm on my lunch,' Chase shot back as he left the room.
House shamelessly eavesdropped on the conversation being held just outside the door. If Chase didn't have the sense to move further away, then why should House reward his idiocy by not listening? The boy needed to learn these things.
'I'm sorry... I know I said I'd be home early, but House... he's my boss, Tom! And he's not... I'm sorry, I'm sorry... Look, I'll be home as soon as I can... there's pasta in the freezer... or you could order takeout... There's money sitting beside the... So we're okay now, yeah? I'll see you tonight...' Chase hung up the phone, his breath coming shakily as he came back into the room.
House tried to look innocent. 'Problems?'
'No problems,' Chase assured him. 'Since when do you care anyway?'
- - - - - - - - -
'You do all that!'
'I never said that I don't sexually harass you,' House answered mockingly. 'I just said that this wasn't it. Right now I don't care how cute your ass is. Shirt off.'
- - - - - - - - - -
One hour earlier
They were staying late again. When House had refused to let them leave, Cameron and Foreman had protested loudly, and then sighed in resignation. Chase had taken on a strange expression, but said nothing. House gave them five minutes to get coffee, and Chase left the room, dialling the phone even as he walked out the door.
It was eleven now, and one of the nurses peered in through the door. 'Dr Chase? There's a man asking for you in reception. A Tom Woods? He says he's your...' she hesitated for the briefest of moments, '...partner.' There was a question in how she said it, but Chase didn't notice.
He jumped up, muttered 'I'll be back in a minute,' and flew out of the room.
House looked at the space where his intensevist had been with disbelief. 'Where have his manners gone?'
'Maybe it's just urgent?' Cameron offered, placating as always.
'More urgent than Mr...'
'Goodman?' Foreman filled in.
'That's the one. Unless someone is dying faster than poor Mr Goodman, Chase had better have a damn good reason for trying to leave early. I better investigate.'
'It isn't leaving early when it's practically midnight,' Foreman called, but House was already halfway out the door.
At reception Chase was standing in front of a virtual man-mountain. Tom, assuming this was him, must have been six foot seven, and had either been a linebacker or the Incredible Hulk as a teenager. Chase, who never looked particularly threatening, was dwarfed by him.
The general impression wasn't helped much by the way Chase slumped his shoulders, and how Tom leant over him – too close for casual and too looming for affection. Chase reached up and placed his hand on the taller man's arm.
House was just close enough to hear them now.
'I said that I was sorry.'
'You don't look sorry.'
'I am. But our patient went critical and House...'
'It's always fucking House with you, Rob. That how you get them to pay you those big cheques? Giving the old man a little extra on the side?'
'Tom!' Chase hissed. 'You're drunk, and you don't mean... he's my boss! I need to go back to work now, okay? I promise I'll be home early tomorrow.'
Chase turned to leave, and Tom grabbed his shoulder. House watched as the restraint was tightened, fingers digging into the slim shoulders hard enough to bruise. 'Don't you dare walk away like that.'
'Tom, please.' Chase tried to pull away from the strong grip. 'I need to work here. Please don't make a...'
'Scene?' Both men looked down in surprise at the cane which had been inserted between them.
'Dr House,' Chase said, startled.
House ignored Chase for the moment. He looked at Tom. 'I believe you have my intensivist. I need him back now.'
'He isn't your anything, doc.'
'I think you'll find that during work hours, he is. Look, I promise I'll give him back in perfect working order. Go home and make your own fun for a while.'
Tom face went dark with anger, and with no further argument or provocation, he swung an arm at House. It wasn't particularly hard or well-aimed, more a drunken swing, but it was enough to knock him over.
Chase straightened up and placed himself firmly in between the two of them. 'Get away from him!'
'Defending your boyfriend?'
'I'm defending my boyfriend from being tossed out by security or the police,' Chase corrected. 'Look, just go home, okay? You've got the key. I'll be back soon.' He walked closer to Tom, leaning in to whisper with a coy smile, 'I promise I'll make it worth your while.'
House shook his head a little to verify that he had just heard something so blatantly porn-star-esque come out of Chase's mouth.
Tom smirked. 'Okay then.' He turned Chase's head with aggressive hands, and pulled him in for a kiss. The fingers in his Chase's hair were pulling hard enough that he winced as they broke off, before forcing a smile.
When Tom left, Chase offered a hand to his boss. 'Sorry. He was upset that I couldn't get home.'
'Sorry,' he repeated. Another forced smile.
- - - - - - - - - - -
'You can't order me to strip for you,' Chase protested.
'Are you sure about that? I'm your boss after all.'
'There's a limit to what you can...'
'Just like there's a limit to what your boyfriend can do?'
- - - - - - - - - -- - -
Thirty minutes earlier
'He hit you? Didn't the nurses call anyone?' Wilson asked curiously.
'Apparently,' House drawled sarcastically, 'this is not the first time I have so enraged a patient or patient's relative so as to warrant being punched.
Wilson nodded and conceded the point. 'Still... surely it was pretty obvious he wasn't with a patient?'
'You're missing the point here, Jimmy.'
'I'm sorry, it didn't occur to me that the point wasn't about you.'
'I'll have you know I am the very model of the concerned boss.'
'Sure. So you think it was more than just an argument?'
'I think if it had been Cameron there with a large drunk man clawing at her shoulder, security would have tossed the guy out. And it wasn't just... He just stood there letting it happen. Until the guy hit me, whereupon Chase suddenly develops a backbone. It was like watching someone be menaced by a puppy. Or a baby rabbit.'
'Are you done with the small animal analogies yet?'
'You want advice now?'
'I felt that was implied.'
'Are you going to listen?'
'I make no promises.'
'I think Chase has a problem. And unless you intend to just watch it happen, something I'm not ruling out, you're going to have to talk to him.'
- - - - - - - - - -
'Take off your shirt, Chase.'
FIN. Feedback is much adored