Hoping that Cameron had floated off somewhere else, and wasn't lurking in wait for him around some corner waiting for him to realize that he really did love her wildly and passionately (he had to suppress a shudder at this point of the thought process – Cameron stalking him seemed disturbingly possible today) House called the elevator. As the doors slid open, he lifted his cane like a sword, but only Chase was in it. He sighed, somewhat relieved, before stepping through the doors.

"Morning," he muttered to Chase, too irritated to even think of a snarky comment to make about Vegemite or wombats. Chase looked mildly surprised by that.

"You look like hell."

House flinched, and wished vehemently that Chase would put on an American accent once in a while. Or just stop looking so damned much like one of those lifesaver guys they had down there because everyone went to the beach every day instead of working or something.

"Yeah, well," he muttered, attempting to put the conversation to an end. But Chase seemed determined to show off his accent.

"Is anything wrong? Did Cameron jump you again? I wish she'd jump me. Nice weather we've been having lately. I have a new shampoo. Isn't my hair pretty? Did you know that Sydney isn't actually the capital of Australia, it's Canberra, and -"

"Shut up!" House hissed irritably. Chase looked bewildered. "Stop talking about your hair."

"But I thought you liked me!"

"God, this is worse than Cameron," House muttered desperately, jabbing wildly at the floor button with his cane. Damn this thing was slow. He'd have to shout at the janitor at some point.

"You're always saying I'm pretty and making ambiguous comments about stuff," Chase said earnestly. He was inching closer. House attacked the button with renewed desperation.

"Get away from me."

Chase's eyes flicked to the cane House was holding up as a shield, and the expression of someone who'd thought of a brilliant new sexual joke swam onto his face. While he paused, putting on the puppy-dog concentration face, House clapped a hand over his mouth. He had a feeling that jokes about his cane weren't going to be good for his head.

"Mmmnf, mnf mnf – mnf!" Chase spluttered, before biting House's hand. Hard. The diagnostician yelped, shaking the hand in the air and giving the biter a baleful look.

"That hurt."

"I'm sorry," Chase said breathlessly, catching the hand in his.

It was a good thing for Chase that the doors opened then, because House was rapidly becoming a desperate man. And he wielded a big stick.


Get your minds out of the gutter.