REWIND...part one

They were conferencing when Wilson entered the room, barging in and looking unsettled.

Chase noticed him first and felt himself tense up for no reason. Instinct maybe. He knew he wasn't going to like what Wilson had to say. He wasn't disappointed.

"There's a woman in the lobby looking for Chase," Wilson announced.

"Tell her he's busy," House interjected, without missing a beat. "We're...working. Or rather, I'm working and they're pretending they know what I'm doing."

Wilson looked like he was resisting rolling his eyes before they focused on Chase. "She's being rather...vocal."

Chase felt himself sinking lower into his chair and he wished he could hide from the four pairs of curious eyes that had glommed onto him. "Could you please ask her to wait?" he asked Wilson. Chase knew if he left now that House would taunt him about it later. Endlessly. He wasn't feeling up to being humiliated right at this moment. He just wanted to make it through the day and go home and hibernate. At least until tomorrow morning when he had to come back to work.

"She doesn't strike me as the patient type," Wilson countered, looking apologetic.

"I can't walk out right now!" Chase protested, even though it wasn't Wilson's fault. He was simply the messenger.

But House was looking amused as he stated, "Go ahead, Chase. We'll wait for you. I'll even have Cameron take notes while you're gone so you don't miss anything."

Chase saw Cameron glare at House, even as he found himself rising to his feet. He knew who was waiting for him and it was better to go, even though he would face the music from House later. He was more adept at tuning House out now anyway. He had learned that from tuning out his mother during her drunken binges. Binges that had happened all too frequently throughout his childhood and up to the time of her death. "I won't be long," he said, nodding curtly at House before slipping out the door.

He didn't see House wait a beat before turning to Wilson and pushing him out the door to follow him.

"We shouldn't be doing this," Wilson protested, but it sounded like token resistance. Especially since he walked along without further nudging.

"You know you want too," House sing-songed. "So, what's she like?" he prompted, only to turn and glare at Foreman and Cameron who were hot on his heels. "You two have tests to run and stuff. Go do it." He watched them slink off, looking pissed at him. Which made him feel good because it meant he hadn't lost his touch.

Foreman wasn't so easily dismissed. "Chase is supposed to do the procedure," he stated.

House shrugged. "I'll send him along when he's done chatting up his lady friend."

"You shouldn't interfere," Cameron interjected, disapproval dripping from her tone.

"I shouldn't do a lot of things," House countered, smirking. Then he waved a dismissive hand at Foreman and Cameron, before setting a brisk pace down the corridor. Or as brisk as he could with his limp.

Wilson watched the duckling's go, then ran to catch up before answering House's question. "She's older, looks like she's in her late forties. Expensively dressed. Auburn hair. Attractive."

House stared at Wilson in surprise. "Did you take notes? Good eye for detail, duude," he drawled, sarcasm oozing from every pore, before limping quickly ahead.

Chase came as close to running as he dared, having taken the stairs in lieu of the elevator. It was faster that way. But he was a bit out of breath as he reached the lobby. He glanced around a moment, before hearing a rather sharp voice calling his name. He tensed before he turned around, a perfect smile on his face.

An auburn-haired woman, dressed in an expensive dark suit, moved forward to greet him. She was a bit unsteady in her stride, as if she wasn't quite comfortable in her matching pumps. When she reached Chase she gripped his face in both hands and kissed him, lewdly.

Breaking the kiss as quick as he could, Chase backed away into a shadowy corner, snagging the woman by the hands and taking her with him. "Vanessa...we can't do that here," he chided.

"I'm rich and powerful, beautiful. I can do anything I want," she purred, stealing yet another kiss as she pressed him back against the wall. In her heels she was about as tall as he was and she put her height to good use, keeping him pinned. Shoving one knee between his, she pushed into his crotch, laughing when he gasped loudly. She then let one hand roam into his hair, fingers curling tightly to hold him still while she devoured his mouth.

Chase let it happen, knowing that to resist would just make things worse. He kissed her back and eventually she let him break away. "Why are you here?" he asked, keeping his tone light and neutral. He didn't want her to get pissed off. She was loud and vocal when angry.

Vanessa pouted at him, eyes narrowing and causing the age lines around her eyes to deepen. No cosmetic surgery in the world could reverse the affect of too much sun. Age had a hand in things too. "I came to see you," Vanessa whispered, leaning in to nip a bite against his chin. "I missed you. Come play hookey with me, beautiful. We can go shopping or something, then back home and to bed." She popped the top button of his shirt.

"I can't!" Chase heard the desperation in his voice as he stopped her fingers and buttoned back up. "You know I can't just leave work, Vanessa. We've talked about this."

"Yes, we have!" She snapped. "And I told you I'll set you up in your own practice. We can open one here and in Europe. You'll be rich and be your own boss."

Chase grimaced, not wanting to repeat an old argument. "You know I don't want you doing that," he said firmly. "Besides which I have enough money as it is." His mother had left all of her estate to him. She had brought old money into her marriage, and since he was an only child, Chase had gotten everything. Not that he cared that much about it. In fact, he had put everything into an account and had yet to do anything with it but let it earn interest. He didn't use a penny on himself.

Vanessa heaved a put upon sigh. "Which is why I don't understand your insistence on working here. You can do anything you want and be in charge of your own practice."

"I've got more learning to do," Chase countered, reaching up to swipe the back of one hand over his mouth. His skin came away clean. Thankfully, Vanessa used smear-proof lipstick.

"I'm horny," Vanessa leaned in and whispered softly in his ear.

Chase bit off a squeak as one of her hands strayed to his crotch and squeezed. Sex with Vanessa was good, although she did tend to be insatiable at times. Borderline nymphomaniac, unless he missed his guess. "I'll try and be home early tonight," Chase promised, even though he knew it was unlikely he'd get out before dark. They tended to pull twenty hour shifts or longer when they had a new case.

Vanessa knew he was trying to placate her and she scowled at him. "It's close enough to lunch time that you can slip away for a quickie. I have the limo so we can just drive around the block a few times and I'll have you back before you're missed."

"I can't." Chase pushed them both out of the corner and started guiding Vanessa towards the exit. "Look, you go home and take a long nap. That way if I am late'll be rested and ready. I'll let know...use the silk ties tonight." As he said it, he felt himself blushing. Vanessa was into bondage and had been begging him to let her tie him up. Chase hadn't been willing in the past, but if it would get her to leave, he was willing to promise just about anything. The fact that he could taste, as well as smell, alcohol on her, made it all the more urgent that she leave now. Vanessa usually held her liquor better, so he knew she would be ready for a very public melt down if he didn't appease her.

"You promise, beautiful?" Vanessa asked, looking excited but a bit doubtful.

Chase nodded and kissed her. "Promise," he whispered, and he could only hope she would forget about it by the time he got home. That or be dead to the world. When he wasn't there for dinner she tended to have too many glasses of wine and was passed out by the time he came home. Which was why they more often than not had sex early in the morning, right before he had to get up to shower and get to work.

Vanessa eyed him carefully then nodded. She let him lead her to the exit and nodded that she was good to go.

"See you later," Chase said, feeling relief wash over him. He turned to go then yelped when fingers pinched his ass hard. He heard Vanessa chuckle softly but didn't turn back around. Instead he ran for the stairs.

"Time to go," House said, bundling Wilson into the elevator. He needed to be back in his office before Chase got there. Hopefully the Aussie would take a few extra minutes to compose himself. "That was interesting," House commented to his companion.

Wilson heaved a sigh. "Don't interfere in his personal life."

House snorted. "Would I do that?" he countered with an arched eyebrow. Of course they both knew he would. He expected his underlings to be focused and ready to do their jobs. Lives depended on it. Instinct told House that his Aussie duckling was a bit more messed up than usual and he had every intention of nipping any further breakage in the bud.

"Chase is an adult, House," Wilson countered, in what seemed to be an attempt to get him to see reason. "He can date whomever he likes."

"She's old," House countered, watching Wilson roll his eyes right on cue. "She's too old for you, and by that I mean older than you because we both know you like 'em younger. Which makes her way too old for Chase."

Wilson pinched the bridge of his nose then offered a word of advice. "Let Chase live his own life. The last few times you tried to help, you just made things worse for him."

House almost flinched at that, turning it into a careless shrug. "You know what they say...practice makes perfect." At which point the elevator doors opened and he waved goodbye to Wilson, limping off to his office.


House had just managed to get seated behind his desk, tossing his striped ball into the air, when Chase strode into the room. He studied the young doctor for a moment, taking note of how rattled he appeared. It showed in his eyes, in his demeanor and in his appearance. His hair was tousled and his clothes were a bit mussed. From all the groping the red-head had done, House knew. He continued watching as Chase came to an abrupt halt, noticed that the room was empty and started to turn away.

"I...I'll go run those tests and things," Chase stammered.

"Who's the old chick?" House called out. Which got Chase's attention, rather like a slap would have. House watched him turn to face him, eyes wide, body vibrating with tension.

Chase turned a shade paler as he whispered, "What?"

House set the ball aside and leaned forward in his chair, eyes locked on Chase's face. He looked completely flummoxed. "I asked who the old chick was?" House repeated. "The red-head in the lobby." He watched Chase swallow hard, maybe swallowing down a sharp retort. His blond duckling wasn't one for confrontations. He much preferred to distract and deflect.

"She's younger than you are!" Chase snapped, apparently deciding that a good offense was the way to go.

"But I'm not dating you," House pointed out, in what he thought was a reasonable way. He grinned at Chase's discomfort, because now the pale cheeks were flushed red. "Spill," he ordered.

But Chase was ready to stand his ground. His eyes were icy blue as he hissed, "If all you want to do is harass me about my private life, then I have a procedure to do!" That said, Chase turned sharply on his heel and made to leave.

Only House was no where near finished with him yet. "Sit down!" he snapped. And it got the desired effect. Chase froze, slowly turning around and moving stiffly to the chair in front of House's desk. He was shooting daggers from his eyes as he dropped onto the edge of the seat.

"She was drunk," House said calmly. "Even from where I was watching, I could see the signs." He waited for a response, but all Chase did was stare at him, his expression inscrutable. "The silent treatment won't make me go away," House reminded him. He rose to his feet, grabbing his cane for support, and limped around to the front of the desk, directly in front of Chase. "You're young, intelligent enough and obscenely pretty." He got a flinch at his last words, which he took as a positive reaction. It was fun teasing Chase about his looks. Thankfully he wasn't vain, but the blonde Aussie was aware of the fact that his looks made his life easier, and he was prone to putting that fact to good use. "That said," House continued, "We both know you could get a date with pretty much anyone you want. Hell, eighty percent of the doctors, nurses, aides and even patients in this place lust after you. Including some of the male ones. So why would you date an alcoholic who's old enough to be your mother?" For a moment House thought he had Chase, that the young man was going to crack and spill everything. But he couldn't have been more wrong.

Rising to his feet, body trembling with ill concealed rage, Chase locked eyes with House and gained enough control to spit out in a disgustingly flat tone, "The moment my personal life becomes any of your damn business, I'll send you a memo." Then, with those words still echoing between them, Chase walked out.

House watched him go and sighed. Quite the conundrum was his little Chase.


Chase came home to an all too familiar sight. Vanessa, sprawled across the bed, bottle of vodka in one hand, cigarette in another. He wasn't sure what would kill her first. Lung cancer, the booze or maybe she would burn the house down and perish within it. At least she was still awake, given the fact the TV was on full blast and she was shouting at it.

Heaving a sigh, Chase moved to the bed and reached for the remote. He turned the TV off abruptly, which got Vanessa's attention.

"You're late!" she snapped, before taking another swig from the bottle.

"It's part of my job, you know that," Chase calmly replied. It was a conversation they had often. As he spoke, he leaned over and plucked the cigarette from her fingers, smashing it out in a nearby ashtray. Without warning fingers were fisting in his shirt, pulling him in for a kiss. Vanessa's tongue plunged into his mouth tasting of tobacco and stale vodka and Chase had to fight a gag reflex as he pulled away from her. But he plastered a smile on his face as he said softly, "Let me get you settled into bed. You need to sleep."

Vanessa glared at him before turning it into what he knew she thought was a seductive pout. "I need you to make love to me, beautiful," she purred, reaching for him again with the hand that wasn't clutched around the Vodka bottle.

Chase resisted the urge to sigh as he reached for the bottle. "We'll make love in the morning," he promised. Although he doubted she would be awake by the time he left. He had about six hours to get some sleep before he was due back to the hospital. Once Vanessa fell asleep, she'd be out for at least twelve hours. Or more, given how little was left of the vodka. As she tried to raise it to her mouth again, Chase tried to tug it away.

"NO!" Vanessa screeched at him, tugging her arm free. Then, without warning, she struck out at him, the blunt end of the bottle slamming hard into his temple.

Pain exploded in his head and Chase felt himself falling into blackness. Hitting the floor jolted pain throughout his entire body, keeping him from falling unconscious, but he felt dizzy and nauseous as he pressed one hand to his head. Something slick and warm smeared over his skin and he drew his hand away to find blood on it.

Vanessa was on her knees, peering over the edge of the bed at him. "Oh god! Oh God!" she moaned. "Robbie, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you," she moaned. Then she was on the floor next to him, shaky hands petting his face, making his head hurt worse.

"It's okay," Chase assured her, an echo of words whispered long ago. "I'm fine, it's okay." He managed to get to his feet and started to pull her up with him when she started retching. Chase was at least grateful she spewed on the floor and not the bed. Less clean up to do. He held her as she emptied her stomach, his nose wrinkling at the stench of bile and alcohol. When she was done he got her back into bed and fetched a damp washcloth and a cup of water. He cleaned her face then helped her take a sip of water to rinse her mouth. Drawing the covers over her he whispered, "Get some sleep, love."

"You're so good to me, Robbie," Vanessa whispered, her eyes already drawing closed.

He waited until he was sure she was asleep, then he went about cleaning up the mess on the floor. He could have called one of the servants to do it, since Vanessa had a houseful of them, but no sense in waking them given the hour. Besides which, he was experienced with this kind of mess and he had it taken care of swiftly. Then it was time for a long shower. He winced through washing his hair, then got out and dried off before wrapping a towel around his waist to take care of the cut on his temple. He was already bruising and it would be hard to hide, so he was grateful he'd let his hair grow a bit longer at Vanessa's request. Injury taken care of, Chase pulled on boxer-briefs, loose sweat pants and a t-shirt, then he settled into the overstuffed chair near the bed. He draped a blanket over himself and closed his eyes, but he knew he wouldn't sleep. Instead he listened to the antique clock on the wall tick away the minutes till morning.

It was a vigil he had kept time and time again. And it was almost comforting in its familiarity. Almost.


House watched Wilson drop into the chair from across his desk, before turning his attention back to the Rubik's cube in his hands. He'd been trying to make patterns in it for the past month with little success.

"You look bored," Wilson observed.

"Nothing interesting is going on," House stated.

Wilson smirked. "No ducklings to torture?" He made a show of staring at his watch. "Oh my!" he feigned shock. "It's early. Very early. Are pigs flying? Is the moon blue?"

House snorted. "I wanted to put them off kilter. Me being here first will make them all kinds of nervous. Especially since we don't have a case."

"You have a case," Wilson countered. "The kid with the unexplained rash."

"I figured it out already, but I am going to make my minions run myriads of tests until they figure it out on their own," House replied, making another move on the Rubik's cube. He then glared at it as his one perfectly patterned row became mismatched.

Wilson watched him for a moment before asking, "Any more Chase drama?"

Heaving a sigh of disgust, House tossed the cube onto his desk and settled his focus on Wilson. "Nothing," he allowed. "It's frustrating. General Hospital has been boring this past week and I need to be entertained."

"You mean you haven't prodded Chase about his personal life?" Wilson looked surprised.

"Not yet, I'm making him sweat about when I'm going to pounce." House felt disinclined to explain that he was too busy watching Chase to mess with him just yet. He had seen subtle signs of things that piqued his interest and he was simply biding his time. He hadn't handled things all that well when Rowan Chase had appeared, and he wasn't one to go about making the same mistake twice.

Wilson shook his head. "Why don't you leave the poor kid alone? You've tortured him enough this past year. He's paid for his sins ten times over."

House shrugged. "Can anyone ever really pay for their sins?"

"If anyone knew the answer to that question, you would," Wilson shot back, looking pleased with himself.

"Show time," House announced, as he took note of his ducklings entering the conference room. "Only two," he muttered to himself, because while Cameron and Foreman were heading for the coffee pot, Chase was conspicuously absent.

Wilson followed House's gaze, cocked one eyebrow, but chose to remain silent. He simply waved before exiting House's office.

House waggled his cane at Wilson, then made his way into the conference room. "Where's Chase?" he demanded.

"I'm here!" It was Chase, slipping in the door and panting heavy before he slipped into the closest chair.

"Oh my god!" Cameron exclaimed, as she got a good look at him. "What happened to you?"

Chase looked confused. "What do you mean?"

Cameron was by his side in an instant, one hand lifting to his temple. "You're hurt!" She smoothed his hair back and probed the small bandage that was revealed. Until Chase swatted her hand away.

"I'm fine!" He looked irritated and a bit scared.

House watched the exchange with interest, but refrained from commenting. Cameron could, and would, ask all the questions he wasn't ready to ask. Questions he knew Chase didn't want to hear. And right on cue, Cameron launched her arsenal.

"Did you get in a fight?" she queried.

"No!" Chase snapped, then he looked over to House and desperation glittered in his eyes.

House decided to take pity on him. But only because he knew it would surprise Chase for him to do so and that would put the young Aussie off guard for when House nailed him after the conference. A conference that was fairly short-lived as he fired symptoms at the ducklings and watched them squirm. Chase participated far more than House had expected him too, even coming up with the right diagnosis for the patient's unexplained rash, although House shot down his idea in front of everyone. He couldn't play nice now or Chase would get suspicion. Instead he sent Foreman and Cameron off to run various tests.

The moment they were gone, House moved to intercept Chase from leaving too. Not that his blond duckling was moving all that fast. House took note of the fact that Chase was unsteady on his feet as he rose from his chair, and that he was too pale and his eyes were somewhat glassy. "I didn't dismiss you," House reminded him.

"Sorry," Chase mumbled, not meeting House's gaze.

"She do that to you?" House asked, knowing that blunt was best with Chase. Well, blunt was always best period really.

Chase looked like he was fighting to keep his hand from raising to touch his temple. "I tripped," he ground out.

House snorted. "Right into a vodka bottle?" And he knew he scored a direct hit when Chase flinched and turned one shade paler. He watched, hitching ever closer, as the young doctor rose to his feet, trembling a bit as he suppressed what House assumed would be rage. It was good to know he hadn't lost his touch. He watched Chase take a step towards the door and list suddenly. House was by his side, grabbing his arm and pushing him back down into the chair.

"Leave me alone!" Chase snapped, then he looked horrified at his loss of control. House knew that control was very precious to his wombat.

"Let me take a look at you." House couched it as part question, part statement. That way Chase could pretend he had a choice.

But Chase didn't seem to be in the mood to play the game. He was on his feet and moving towards the door before House could react. Heaving a sigh of resignation, House watched him go.


Chase could feel Cameron watching him. After escaping from House, and it truly had felt like making an escape because the man was always looking too hard at things and seeing much more than Chase felt comfortable with, he had hooked up with Cameron to run some gels. The results were all negative. They would have to look for other causes for the patient's symptoms.

"You okay?" Cameron finally asked. She had been almost eerily quiet while they worked.

"I'm fine." Chase kept it short and to the point. He didn't want her fussing over him in that way she had that while it was meant to be nurturing, mostly it was irritating. He had gotten through life without mothering just fine so far.

Cameron, however, was not one to be deterred. "You're awfully pale, Chase. Why don't you let me take a look at you?"

That offer pushed him to his feet and over to the far corner, putting as much distance between them as he could. But the fast movement also left him a bit light-headed so he found himself leaning against the wall with as much nonchalance as he could muster. Which he doubted was overly impressive.

Apparently he was right because Cameron just followed him over to peer at him with concern reflected in her eyes. "Chase?"

"I'm fine, Cameron!" he hissed between gritted teeth. Nausea was coiling in his belly and he really didn't want to spew in front of her.

"You don't look fine!" she snapped back, irritation almost overriding her concern. Cameron liked to get her own way. But she must have realized how she sounded because her tone softened as she repeated her offer to look him over. "We can use one of the exam rooms down the hall," she stated, trying to make her case.

Chase had to resist the urge to shake his head, knowing it would only serve to make the pain in his temples spike. Instead he looked her in the eye and firmly repeated, "I'm fine."

Cameron seemed to take the hint, backing off physically and verbally. "How about grabbing something to eat then? I can run these results off to House and meet you in the cafeteria."

"You go ahead," Chase countered, grabbing the folder from her. "I'm not hungry. I can drop off the results." He watched her hesitate so he waved the file at her in a shooing motion. "Go on before I take back my offer." He forced a smile to show he was joking with her, and in the hopes that she'd take it as a sign that he really was all right and she could stop fussing.

"Okay, catch you in a bit," Cameron replied. She smiled back then headed for the door.

Once alone, Chase let himself sag fully against the wall. His head ached abominably causing him to fish in his pocket for the bottle of aspirin he'd stopped to buy at the drugstore on the way to work. He dry swallowed two of them, trying not to compare himself to House with his Vicodin. For a moment his stomach put up a fight and Chase was pretty sure he was going to spew the pills back onto the floor, but then everything settled and he heaved a sigh of relief.

Pushing himself off the wall, Chase made for the door. He would drop off the file then offer to do House's clinic hours until he was needed to do something for their patient. Foreman was primary on it anyway, so Chase felt certain he would be able to hide from House in the clinic for most of the day.

Amazingly, House was agreeable to Chase doing clinic hours for him. He accepted the folder with the test results then waved Chase out the door. He went, gladly, though he was a bit surprised. House usually never made it this easy for him to escape and hide. Not that he was going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Not at all.

Working the clinic felt like a relief. His head was still aching and he felt a bit nauseous, but it was just busy enough and the people he had to deal with were just nondescript enough that Chase could work by rote and still know he was getting the job done right. He worked steadily till noon when one of the nurses, Barbara, hauled him off to take a break in the lounge. She settled him at the table with a sandwich and a soda and Chase made a show of eating, taking a small bite and chewing slowly. She watched him for a bit before smiling with approval and heading out the door. The moment she was gone, Chase wrapped the sandwich up and tossed it in the trash, covering it by crumpling up an old newspaper and dropping it on top so no one would see it. Barbara was a nice lady and, normally, Chase would appreciate the way she tended to fuss over him, but today he just wanted to be alone. He did, however, finish off the soda. He needed the caffeine rush it offered and it made swallowing his third dose of aspirin a bit easier. He knew he was popping them too soon, but his head was killing him.

He was just about to head out and grab the folder for the next patient when his pager went off. Their patient was coding. Ignoring the pain in his head, Chase took off at a run.


The patient was still clinging to life when Chase went home. It had been a close call but, in the end, House had figured out what was wrong because of something Chase had said in passing. He didn't even remember what it was, nor did he really care. He just wanted to curl up in bed and sleep.

Thankfully, Vanessa was out when he got there. Chase fuzzily remembered that tonight was the night she met with a group of girlfriends to shop and chat and have dinner and such. She usually got home in the early morning hours. Which was fine by Chase. He was able to take a long shower, pull on briefs, pop a couple more aspirin then crawl into bed. He turned the TV on for background noise, closed his eyes and effortlessly drifted into an exhausted slumber.

He jolted back to awareness when he realized he was getting hard. Not so surprising given the fact that Vanessa was sucking him off. She liked to do that before riding him. What was surprising was the fact that he couldn't touch her. Chase tried to do so but his arms wouldn't move. He tilted his head back, wincing as pain throbbed in his temples, and saw that his wrists were tied to the headboard, with a pair of silk ties. Ties that Vanessa had given him.

She must have sensed he was awake because her mouth left him and she was suddenly over him, her eyes blazing with lust and anger. Chase looked hard and saw that her eyes were glazed as well. She was drunk again. He wasn't surprised. But when she kissed him hard, nipping at his lower lip, he yelped.

"You've been a bad boy, haven't you, Robbie?" Vanessa snarled, her fingers digging into his hair and holding tight when he tried to avoid another kiss. "But you're such a beautiful boy that I'm willing to forgive you." As she spoke she backed up over him, gripping his hardness until she could push down onto him.

"Vanessa..." Chase couldn't help but moan as he was enveloped by her wet heat. She knew how to make him feel good. Sex and business were the two things Vanessa excelled at. He had slept with her the first night they met and he had never looked back. Because she had told him she wanted companionship, not complications. Even as she moved over him, drawing an almost painful release out of him, Chase wondered what had happened to change things. Because everything in his life was more complicated than ever, yet he couldn't walk away from her.

She seemed to think otherwise. "I won't let you leave me, Robbie!" Vanessa hissed, as she collapsed over him. She was limp from her own release but she found the strength to cup his face between rigid fingers. "I won't let you go. You belong to me!" She was angry and crying at the same time.

Chase knew it was the alcohol talking. His mother had begged him like this. Night after night she had begged him to love her in spite of her sins. Tugging at his bindings and hoping she would get the hint to release him, Chase held Vanessa's gaze as he replied, "I'm not going anywhere. Promise."

"I can't lose you," Vanessa whispered, raining soft and sloppy kisses over his face. "You're my life, Robbie. You're the best thing that ever happened to me.

"You won't lose me," he promised. But it was hard not to laugh at her. Her life was truly fucked up if he was the best thing that had ever happened to her. "Untie me, luv," he requested.

Vanessa shook her head. "," she whispered into his neck, then she was biting him and making her way down his body, her hands mapping over his skin. Then she was curling up beside him, drawing a blanket over them. "I want to sleep knowing you can't leave me," she breathed into his ear.

Chase considered arguing with her, but he didn't have the desire to fight with her. She didn't take arguments well and it was easier to just let her sleep. But it was a long time before he joined her in slumber.


He felt Vanessa watching him as he knotted his tie in the mirror. Even after a long, hot, shower he felt stiff and sore from being tied up for so long. His shoulders ached right along with his head, but Chase had popped a few aspirin along with a glass of orange juice, and he was waiting for them to kick in. The moment he turned to face Vanessa he knew it was going to be a bad morning.

She glared at him before snarling, "I want you to come with me!"

"You know I can't," Chase countered, keeping his tone soft and low. She was leaving this morning for Milan on business and would be gone for two weeks. She had asked him, several times, to go with her, and he kept telling her he couldn't. Vanessa was not good at taking no for an answer.

"You just can't wait for me to be gone so you can sleep around on me!" Vanessa shrilled. And when Chase opened his mouth to assure her that wasn't the case, she slapped him.

He pressed a hand to his cheek and just stared at her. It wasn't the first time a woman had slapped him. Chase could still feel the imprint of his mother's hand, and hear her horrified words of apology.

Vanessa moved to him, shaking her head, tears shimmering in her eyes. "Oh god, Robbie! I'm so sorry! Forgive me?" She was begging now, with her eyes as much as with her words.

"Of course I forgive you," he whispered. He let his hand drop from his cheek to hers, pulling her in for a soft kiss. "I'm sorry I can't go with you," he told her. "I wish I could." There was both truth and lies in what he said and he knew she'd never figure out which was which. He wasn't all that sure he could anymore.

"I love you so much, hurts," Vanessa said, sobbing into his shoulder.

Chase held her tight, knowing better than anyone just how much love hurt.


It took House three days before confronting Chase about the fact that he wasn't rushing home from work anymore.

"Old lady dump you?" he asked, as he strode into the conference room and headed for the coffee pot. It was almost midnight and he really should be going home himself, but he had wanted to look a few things up on the internet before heading out.

"Not that it's any of your business, but she's out of town for two weeks," Chase replied, not glancing up from his crossword.

House was surprised to hear that. Or maybe not. Chase had been more focused the past few days. But he was still curious. "So why are you still here? You could go out or go home and watch movies. In case you didn't get the memo, we don't have a patient at the moment."

Chase did glance up, eyes peering out from a fringe of blond bangs. "I was covering a half shift in NICU and one of the babies coded. I'm just sticking around until I'm sure I'm not needed."

"Noble of you," House allowed. He took a sip of the coffee then spat it back into the cup. Tasted like tar.

"It's hours old," Chase commented, having caught House's actions. "Plus Cameron made it."

House grimaced. Cameron was a very skilled doctor, but she sucked at making coffee. He weighed whether or not it was worth making a fresh pot and decided against it. There were bottles of soda in the mini fridge and a mountain dew would give him a faster caffeine rush anyway. "So why were you here late the past two nights?" House queried, as he limped over to the table and sat down. He figured he'd get a bit of entertainment watching Chase figure out some plausible fib to offer him.

Chase shifted in his chair, pushing the crossword away from him. "I had things to catch up on," he replied, before standing up and fetching himself a soda.

"You'll never get to sleep if you drink that," House pointed out. Because what was sauce for the goose wasn't always sauce for the little ducklings.

"Sleep is overrated," Chase replied as he opened the tab then took a long swig. He looked about to make another smart comment when his pager went off. After reading it, Chase set the can on the table and ran out the door.

House sighed before leaning over and reaching for the can. No reason to let it go to waste. As he sat there, contemplating Chase, House finished both cans of soda, then he popped a Vicodin. It was going to be an interesting two weeks.

THE END...of part one