A/N: A thousand apologies for the unforgivable lapse in posting. Unfortunately, Real Life took precendence over fanfic for a while. But I'm back (mostly) and will hopefully be finishing this story soon.
Thanks to everyone who continued to encurage me to post - bree1387, you're review is actually what motivated me to finish up this chapter. The story had sort of drifted to the back of my mind, and when I got my little email alert for your review, I kind of went "Oh, yeah! I have to finish that up..." So thanks :) Apparently begging DOES work!
They needed to get out of there.
Chase was looking bad, and Foreman wasn't sure how much longer he could remain cognizant enough to look after him. The intensivest had stopped talking to him about an hour ago, instead curling on the pile of clothes and shaking, eyes clenched shut against painful muscle cramps and spasms.
Foreman's head pounded mercilessly, nausea churning in his gut. His eyes began to slide shut, and he fought against it.
If he passed out now, there was no telling what would happen to them both.
The sound of muted voices from beyond the door drifted into his awareness, and suddenly it wasn't so difficult to stay awake.
"Chase," he prodded, struggling to stand. "Someone's here."
Chase moaned a little and blinked his eyes open blearily, but didn't give any indication that he had understood.
There was a muffled, annoyed exclamation from the stairwell, followed by a softer, patient drone.
"It's House and Wilson," Foreman said excitedly, and relief washed over him so suddenly he thought he might pass out.
Managing to stay upright somehow, he staggered to the door and pounded weakly on it with his fists.
"House! Wilson! We're in here!"
There was some scuffling, and then the unmistakable, if muffled, voice of Gregory House sounded through the barrier.
"You really blow at hide-and-go-seek, Foreman! If you tell us where you are it really sucks all the fun out of it!"
Foreman found himself laughing giddily with relief and fought to suppress the hysterical-sounding reaction.
"Chase, we're getting out of here," he laughed.
There was no response, not even a groan this time, and when Foreman turned to look the Aussie was dead to the world, pale and sweating. Somehow, Foreman didn't think he was sleeping.
"House," he shouted, staggering back to Chase's side, "Hurry!"
House snapped his cell phone shut, cutting off the annoying 9-11 operator mid-"please stay on the line". Really – did she not understand that, as a doctor, he was much more qualified to handle the present situation than a glorified telemarketer?
"Go ahead, Wilson," House urged sardonically, trying to ignore the surge of foreboding invoked by Foreman's slightly panicked cry. "Use your healthy, nubile young body to bust this door open and let we cripples rest a moment. Those stairs were obviously designed by someone who loathes and detests invalids."
"Forgetting for a moment that you just called me nubile," Wilson replied dryly, "I don't think we're getting through these chains without some sort of bolt cutters."
"Would a key to the padlock suffice, Nancy Drew?"
House gestured toward the battered brass padlock, where some idiot had left the key jutting from the lock.
"I suppose it would," Wilson admitted reluctantly, snapping open the padlock and hastily drawing the chain back through the door handle. With the chain removed, he was able to shoulder the door open and step inside, House close behind him.
The room stunk of mildew and vomit, and House wrinkled his nose in distaste. A wan bulb illuminated the cluttered basement and the hunched form of Foreman, bending over a figure on the floor.
It took him only a moment to deduce that it was Chase, but the man he saw lying prone before him was a far cry from the usually well-groomed intensivest. He looked pale and sweaty, his hair plastered to his ashen forehead in long strands. House could see his chest rising and falling in quick, shallow breaths, and he appeared to be unconscious.
"I let you out of my sight for one afternoon…" House muttered, trying to squash an annoying twinge of concern.
"What the hell happened," Wilson asked in a shocked tone, crouching to take Chase's pulse.
"Patient's boyfriend busted us in her apartment. Dude was messed up on something, probably PCP."
Foreman's voice sounded uncharacteristically rattled.
"He brought us down here, kicked the shit out of us, shot Chase up with what I'm pretty sure was heroin, and left."
"Wait a minute," Wilson interjected, "Did you say heroin?"
"So the Aussie's doin' smack now, huh? Didn't see that one coming."
Ignoring Wilson's disapproving stare, House painfully bent to assess his underling's condition.
"His pulse is high – 120 bpm," the oncologist said lowly, "I think he's in shock."
Frowning, House lifted Chase's nearest hand and peered at his fingernails.
Sighing, he dropped the Australian's hand unsympathetically, lifted Chase's shirt, and pressed firmly on his abdomen. He did his best to ignore the heavy mottling of bruises and boot-marks, but couldn't help wondering how the hell this had all happened.
Chase moaned and House's frown deepened.
"Tachycardia, bluish fingernails, and a rigid abdomen. He's bleeding internally," he announced, grimacing as he straightened. "We called an ambulance when we heard you yell. They'll be here soon."
Foreman nodded, looking dazed. Wilson was examining a particularly dark contusion on Chase's side and frowning. He shot House an intensely concerned look.
"In the meantime," House demanded, shifting his gaze to Foreman, "I want you to tell me what happened. All of it."
"Yeah," Foreman agreed, blinking sluggishly. "Sure thing, Greg."
Then he sighed, his eyes rolling back in his head, and dropped bonelessly to the floor.
A stunned looking Wilson reached over Chase's torso to check the neurologist's pulse.
"Did he just call me Greg?"
"We're going to need another ambulance," Wilson announced, ignoring House's question.
Maybe he shouldn't have hung up on the 9-11 operator, after all.
A/N: I know, it's short, but more soon!