"Two months," Wilson had said, firm and without any preamble because Dr. Rowan Chase was obviously the sort that appreciated cool, hard, firm honesty. The sort of honesty a man could stand on, "at best."
Dr. Rowan Chase had started nodding before he'd gotten to 'months' and continued nodding, as if this was old news, as if he were about to wave Wilson away for wasting his time. Instead he said, "that's actually better than I'd been hoping." and his voice was oddly warm and Wilson honestly couldn't tell if it was fake or not.
Wilson's not sure what happened after that. It must've been something routine, something boring, something he just wouldn't bother to remember. But then that first part is so incredibly inane, so not worth remembering, he can't figure out what it is that keeps bringing him back to it. Back to Dr. Rowan Chase's aged, hardened, knowing, nodding face, back to his set shoulders and heavy sigh and bizarre accent, that House could probably mimic but Wilson would never be able to.
While it wasn't unusual to wake with a lingering sensation of having relived a particularly hard delivery of a patient's impending death, Dr. Rowan Chase's was hardly noteworthy. His cool acceptance of it had even been expected. Dr. Rowan Chase had come to Wilson for confirmation; not some miraculous treatment, not for just one more year, not just until he could hold his grandkids, not just until he could visit Paris, and Wilson thinks this job is shredding the edges of his soul, just a bit.
"Two months," Wilson had said, only glancing up from his file, because he could already sense Dr. Rowan Chase's impatience, his mild frustration with being there, with having to be there, with the dot tattooed on his neck and the special diet he ate instead of the rich meats and wines Wilson was sure he had grown accustom to (even though the last time he'd been eating with his son, Dr. Robert Chase had nearly vomited after choking down too much red meat while House and Wilson and Other Underling That Cameron Replaced laughed). "At best." Because he had to round it off, couldn't stop with the 'two months' poking out so awkwardly and sharp, and how many times is he going to replay this nothing of a moment?
"What do you do," Wilson asks House, because he's just that annoyed, with himself, with Chases and their non-role in his life that's somehow become title. "When you can't stop thinking about something?"
House looks at Wilson, eyebrows up and he's sure he's about to catch flack, a pry for more details, a question of Debbie in accounting or Julie crawling back, but instead he turns up Abba and says, "think about it."
Wilson rolls his eyes and mutters a sarcastic thanks, and House mouths the words to Does Your Mother Know?
Wilson thought he remembered every second, every moment of that day, hour, minute. "Two months," he had said, but now all he can remember is the folder in his hand, the slightly receding hairline, half of Dr. Rowan Chase's face. The color of Dr. Rowan Chase's shirt is lost, his expression fades, each detail he tries to get a hold of slips from his mind and away, leaving frustrating blank holes that grow wider the more he tries to fill them.
Wilson is sure he's imagining things, because if there was anything to that moment that was especially interesting, or even mildly not boring, House would've noticed, shared and lorded over . . . someone. But there's nothing there. It's an empty moment. Dr. Rowan Chase had been calm, collected, taking in the news of his death without so much as a double blink.
In stark contrast to Dr. Robert Chase; a myriad of twitches on the calmest moments, he keeps his hands busy, tugging and pulling and bending straws and pens, he shuffles, he chews on things, and Wilson could easily imagine all of these tics flourishing under Dr. Rowan Chase's skeptical, knowing, cool stare. It was something House used to speculate about before Dr. Rowan Chase showed up; called Wilson in for mock consults. "Freud would say he stopped sucking on his mother's teat too soon, but what do you I think?" and "He's got the hots for Cameron, look how he twitches. Foreman, too, actually, and you. Definitely you, do you want me to pass him a note during math?" but those came to an abrupt halt after House spoke to Dr. Rowan Chase the first time, and Wilson guesses he could see that stare being a breeding ground for twitches and convulsions, too.
It comes to Wilson in the middle of the night, something he's sure he pieced together in sleep, but lost on waking, and now he gets to stare at the ceiling and wait for the familiar figures of his room to become something other than dark blobs, because he certainly isn't going to sleep.
He's just made out the ceiling fan when a piece of the puzzle comes drifting silently his way; Dr. Robert Chase, sitting in House's office, shifting, leaning forward and smiling about something, saying his "mum used to love traveling oh, just about anywhere, any time," and he was tugging absentmindedly at his own earlobe, twice, tugtug, hand to the table, around a pen, pen to mouth as he laughed at something Foreman said. But it was the ear, Dr. Robert Chase's ear, and it falls into place pretty fast after that.
Wilson has to know though, for sure, and it gnaws at him all the way down the stairs, to his car, and he thinks he has a mild understanding for House's manic glee as he gets grips his steering wheel -- it's raining and he's wearing sweats, what is he thinking? -- and heads for the PPTH.
It's easy to get DNA samples from someone who compulsively chews and nibbles on coffee stirrers, and even though he feels slightly creepy digging through I trash /I -- and wouldn't it be depressing to think of his brother now? -- he grabs four, and one has to belong to Dr. Robert Chase, and even though tests reveal three of them to be House's -- he's settled enough bets dealing with House's ancestry to spot his particular and unique strand on sight-- the fourth has to be Dr. Robert Chase's, but there's something very, very wrong about what he's seeing.
He reviews it, he pulls Dr. Rowan Chase's strand up to compare, even though he already knows what it will say: it will say what his eight grade science teacher, Mrs. Marsh, had said: a man with Free earlobes (FF) cannot have a son with attached earlobes (aa) even if his partner has attached lobes (aa), because FF dominates aa every time, no matter what, and it's the thing that his mind was trying to tell him, when he saw Dr. Rowan Chase (FF) and then Dr. Robert Chase (aa), and that is that Dr. Rowan Chase's son is not Dr. Robert Chase, and Dr. Robert Chase's father is certainly not Dr. Rowan Chase.
But the thing that has him staring, the thing that makes no sense, although it does if he thinks about it (his mum loved to travel, oh, just about everywhere!), but he doesn't want to think about it, is the first strand of DNA, the one that he got purely by accident, because House had taken a sudden liking to his coffee stirrers (or maybe he was just mocking Chase an extra lot that day), and how it matches entirely too well with the second. It's a match, by any stretch of the imagination, and Wilson stares at the screen for a few moments, and a nurse coughs as she walks by and Wilson remembers his bed hair and rumpled shirt, and thinks he probably looks completely insane.
Early the next day, later that day, actually, Wilson sees House at his desk, and he sees Dr. Robert . . . Dr. Robert, sitting at the conference table alone, probably reading the comics as the pen is more in his mouth than hand, and he tells himself he can kind of see it, but that's a lie. There's nothing especially alike about the two, no more than any other two men of Caucasian decen. Although. Although, neither of them have cleft chins (ss) and neither have widow's peaks (ww) and they share dimples (DD), but it's nothing noticeable, nothing Wilson should've noticed.
"Two months," he had said, but maybe he should've just thrown the file at Dr. Rowan Chase in accordance to his new policy to refuse to get involved with incredibly screwed up families.
Wilson isn't quite sure what the right move --but he really means the moral move, because the correct, logical and least troublesome one would be nothing-- would be, and later (weeks, a month), when he's sure he can say words without meanings slipping by him, he asks.
"Hypothetically," Wilson begins, throwing a crumpled napkin on his finished lunch.
"Oh really?" says House's eyebrows, with obvious interest, while their owner tosses Wilson's napkin out and begins on the leftovers.
"Hypothetically," Wilson begins again, stumbles, and decides there's no better hiding place than in plain sight. "What would you do if you found out you were Cameron's father?"
House's eyebrows are clearly disappointed, and mildly disgusted. "Cry. Everyday."
Cameron was probably a bad example, "Foreman, what if you found out that you were his father?"
House's face creases in suspicion, in thought, and Wilson watches with numb horror as House is figuring something out, and it's like witnessing a tsunami, there's nothing Wilson can do but stare and hope he didn't show too many cards, keep his face as blank as possible --
"Cameron was a stupid choice for this hypothetical, considering that you have full knowledge that we dated," House says, accusingly because that's what House does, "and then Foreman, skipping the oddly appropriate --"
"She's positive for Gaucher's," the Australian voice bursts in before the actual Australian does, and House looks at Wilson, and Wilson's face must've been not nearly blank enough because the tsunami suddenly hits.