I know I've already posted this once but I have a shiny new beta who's really wonderful and I felt it was changed enough to re-post it. Much, much, much thanks to suzisabella for all the wonderful additions! Oh if ya'll don't want the re-vamped parts posted that's fine, but the last two new parts that haven't been posted anywhere might get affected by the changes. Just let me know.
Title: Ears and Eyes
Series: Sense and Sensibility
Summary an AU of how things might've gone. First day jitters
Warnings: Pre-slash, House/Chase. Cross posted to house slash, house-chase and house fanfiction
Notes: Big, big thank you to suzisabella for all the wonderful good stuff that she added, this is practically half hers!
lj-cut text"The elevator was filled with an uncomfortable silence."
The elevator was filled with an uncomfortable silence. Clearing his throat, the imposing black man eyed the pretty, but uptight looking woman next to him, before offering, "Hi, I'm Dr. Eric Foreman. It's my first day here – do you think you could give me any pointers? Stuff to avoid in the cafeteria, that sort of thing?" He put on his best smile, hoping the woman would lose the tense look. He'd be here for years, and while he didn't give a damn what people thought of him, he did want to start out on the right foot.
The woman met his eyes, and smiled back. The smile didn't ease the set of her shoulders, though. "I'm afraid not," she said brightly, "It's my first day too. Dr. Allison Cameron."
"Good to meet you," Foreman said. Cameron smiled more widely. A tense silence filled the car, before Cameron turned abruptly and asked, "So, what's your specialty?"
"Neurology," Foreman replied, "You?"
"Immunology," the woman said. Silence descended once more, and Foreman sighed minutely in relief as the doors opened to his floor. He was mildly surprised when the tense woman exited as well. "So...," Foreman groped for something else to talk about as the woman followed him down the hall, "will you be working in Pathology? I'm here on a fellowship with Dr. Gregory House." He turned in surprise as the woman abruptly stopped, a look of wounded dismay on her face. "What?" he wondered what he'd said that offended her.
"Oh, nothing," the woman said, "It's just that I'm here to start a diagnostic fellowship too."
"Oh," Foreman said, wondering why the woman...Cameron, wasn't it?...had seemed so upset that she wasn't the only one to be working with Dr. House. "Well, I guess we'll be seeing a lot of each other then." He moved off down the hall, hoping that Cameron would lose some of that perpetual anxiety. It was off-putting.
Cameron watched Foreman turn his back and head towards the diagnostics conference room. Her thoughts were in turmoil. She wondered if Foreman had been hired because she hadn't been considered good enough on her own. She pursed her lips. Dr. House had been so...intriguing...during her interview, and she'd been looking forward to getting to know him better. She hoped that having another doctor around wouldn't distract Dr. House from her. She set out for the conference room.
Foreman was standing just inside the door, scowling at a newspaper that was completely obscuring a person sitting at the conference table. She frowned. The other person's hands were too youthful to belong to Dr. House. Another doctor? Just how many people were there in this department, and how was Dr. House supposed to mentor her if his attention was always elsewhere?
"Hey!" Foreman said suddenly. Cameron jumped. "I've said 'hello' to you twice already! You too good to speak to me?" He strode forward and snatched the paper from the person at the table, then stopped in puzzlement at the young man threw his arms up in defense, an almost comical look of surprise on his face.
"Oh! Um, hello," the man said, "I'm sorry, I didn't know you were there."
Cameron narrowed her eyes. The voice was hesitant, but there was a trace of irritation beneath it. Foreman threw the paper down on the table, frowning in disbelief. "How could you not know I was here? I was talking to you!" He stared down at the arrogant man, fuming. Blond hair, blue eyes, designer, yet truly horrible clothes...some pampered rich boy who thought he was better than everyone else. Foreman knew the type. He opened his mouth to tell the snob exactly what he thought rich white boys, when a sudden crash made him turn. His new employer had just thrown open the door of his office, and was currently examining the three of them as if they were some new, exotic disease. Out of the corner of his eye, Foreman noticed Cameron suddenly brighten as she straightened up and took a step towards Dr. House, her mouth opening to speak. "Dr. House," she said warmly, "It's so good..."
Blond-boy interrupted her, smiling, "House, I didn't know you'd hired new fellows!" Cameron gasped in shock, and Foreman decided he'd had enough. He grabbed Blondie's shoulder roughly, snarling, "Look, rich boy, manners might not matter to you..."
Foreman released Blondie, who backed away immediately, and turned to face his obviously angry boss. Dr. House studied him for a moment, then said, "He's deaf, you moron!"
Foreman winced. From the tone of Dr. House's voice, it seemed that, despite his intentions, he had indeed gotten off on the wrong foot. Maybe it wasn't too late to salvage the situation. He looked at Blondie, hoping his face was contrite rather than embarrassed. "Sorry, man," he said, only now noticing how Blondie's eyes focused on his lips and not his eyes as he spoke. "I let my temper get away on me."
"It's okay," Blondie said, although he looked pissed off. "You didn't know. Just don't grab me again, okay?"
"No problem, man, I'm sorry I did it just now," Foreman smiled, hoping that he hadn't stuffed things up too badly. "I'm Dr. Eric Foreman; I'm just starting my fellowship here."
Blondie didn't reply, turning and raising an eyebrow at Dr. House, who grinned. "Surprise!" he said, "I decided you must be lonely in the sandbox all by yourself!"
Blondie sighed, then turned back to Foreman, extending a hand. "Robert Chase," he said in a long-suffering tone of voice. Foreman took the offered hand, "Looking forward to working with you!" Chase just nodded, and turned back to Dr. House. "You're a right bastard, you know that?"
House tapped a finger against his lower lip in thought. "I have been told that, yes, but personally, I think I'm adorable," he said seriously. Chase put his hands on his hips. "You're not adorable," he said flatly. House pouted.
In the background, Cameron was appalled. First, that other doctor had rudely interrupted her, then Dr. House hadn't done anything about it, and now they were bantering! Dr House hadn't even looked at her once! Well, it probably wasn't the other doctor's fault. He was deaf, Dr House had to look after him. Cameron shivered internally. Being deaf must be so awful! She'd have to help the other doctor...Chase... all that she could. Resolved, she stepped forward. "Hello," she said slowly, "I'm...Dr...Allison...Cameron. I'll...be...working...with...you...too." Chase stared at her incredulously, while Dr House rolled his eyes in annoyance. Cameron wondered what she'd done, as Chase obviously forced a smile. "It's good to meet you Dr. Cameron," he said formally, "But it's really not necessary to speak so slowly. It's actually easier for me to lip-read when you talk normally. Please, just make sure that I'm facing you when you want to speak to me." Chase's tone of voice indicated that it was anything but good to meet her. She bit her lip. She was only trying to be nice! "I'll..remember..that," she said, still unconsciously slowing her speech. She turned to Dr House, smiling warmly, "As I was saying..."
"Yeah, yeah," House cut her off. Cameron shut her mouth with a snap. Why was Dr House being so mean to her? In fact...he was ignoring her, his attention focused on the deaf doctor, saying, "Chase, why don't you show these two kiddies around the sandbox, and I'll page you if we get anything?"
Cameron silently fumed, as Chase answered, "Yeah, like that'll happen. How long since you've accepted a case?"
"Oh, I don't know," House replied, "But maybe today will be our unlucky day. Now shoo kiddies, it's my nap time."
"And here we have the ICU, my second home", Chase turned to smile at them. "That's my specialty by the way, intensive care."
During the tour, Foreman's natural arrogance had reasserted itself, and he curled his lip in derision. Thankfully, Chase was looking the other way. Foreman didn't think much of intensivists, but he supposed Chase had to take what he could get. He'd certainly never make it in a demanding field like neurology.
"That's everything then," Chase was saying, "Any questions?" Foreman and Cameron both shook their heads. Chase sighed, and gestured that they walk with him. "I suppose you need some general rules in communicating with the deaf...shouting or talking slowly won't help," he looked pointedly at Cameron, who was yet to speak to him normally. "I read lips well, but obviously I can't read them if I'm not facing you. To get my attention you can bang on the table, the floor - anything I'm in contact with. Or you can flick the lights. If none of that is possible, say if I'm walking with you like right now, or we're with a patient, then – and only then – reach out and touch my wrist."
As Chase spoke, they arrived back at the diagnostics conference room, and he turned to face them, burying his hands in his pockets. "You're going to find that a week in diagnostics is five days of boredom followed by two days of manic energy – when we have a patient that is. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a crossword puzzle to get to."
Cameron followed Chase into the room, but Foreman continued down the hall to House's office.
"Dr. House, I think we should talk," he announced.
House rose his eyebrows as his new fellow strode into the office, all earlier traces of discomfort gone. "You're not quitting already are you? Dammit! I haven't even had time to place a bet with Chase."
"Is this some kind of joke?" Foreman ploughed on, ignoring House's words. "You can't have a deaf doctor. I mean, he can't listen to a heartbeat or a cough. Hell...what happens when a patient codes? How can he work with everyone else?"
House stared steadily at Foreman as he put down his gameboy. Foreman met his gaze, chin raised, apparently certain that House would suddenly see his folly in employing Chase. House quirked his lips. Foreman was about to be disappointed. "I'm only going to tell you this once. Chase is an excellent doctor and a talented diagnostician. He more than pulls his weight around here. You, I know almost nothing about. I suggest you concern yourself with yourself."
Foreman nodded sharply, gritting his teeth. He turned to leave, making it as far as the door before his boss's faintly mocking voice stopped him.
"Oh, and Foreman, feel free to disregard this advice if you like. Should make the next few days entertaining. Or however long you last."
Determined not to turn and face the smirk he knew would be there, Foreman opened the door and left.