A/N: sorry for the delay. My computer was broken for a while. Here are the last parts. Enjoy! Also there is the link to my notes about this story at my livejournal (check my profile for the link). It's nothing important just some comments about writing this story that I had to make because I felt like it.
Chapter Rating: PG-13 (NC-17 version available at my livejournal. The link's at my profile)
Warning(s): Language. Character death.
It had started as an innocent bike ride. Rob had been quiet, maybe a little depressed, maybe a lot depressed. Greg was feeling helpless and antsy. His bike was calling. He'd gone out earlier to get milk for cereal, since neither of them had felt like making anything for lunch. In his haste, not wanting to leave Rob alone in the apartment, Greg had parked his bike out front and he could see it through the window. He loved riding it and he liked it even more when a certain blond, young man sat close behind him, arms wrapped tightly around his chest. Those rides were always the best. And Sunday afternoon was the best time for a ride. Except for church-goers, busy-bodies, and a few unlucky souls that had to work, the roads would be pretty empty. And there was a certain place he wanted like to check out –thus the bike ride.
Perhaps then it didn't start out so innocently. He'd had his ulterior motive; not one that was particularly sinister, but he rarely did something if it didn't have a specific goal, long term or short. He'd bought a second helmet for his…boyfriend. He'd given it to him yesterday, Saturday, the day after his fellowship ended and the day after his long overdue breakdown. That morning had been awkward, even when only the older of the two was the only one awake. While the other slept Greg went out and bought the second helmet. When Rob woke up, groggy, drained, unsure, he was silently handed the new helmet. It was as close to a statement of commitment Greg would ever get to making for the next while. Eventually he would put it in words, not always the most polite choice of words, but Rob would understand. For now the helmet was Greg saying that he was in this for this for the long haul; he'd always have a place on the back of Greg's bike.
Rob had understood and, though he knew how uncomfortable his lover sometimes was with casual physical contact, he hugged him, tight, and silently thanked him.
Chase didn't pay attention to the road. All he could focus on was the warm body pressed along his front. Even when they finally stopped he didn't realize it until he felt a hand on his leg and gentle voice calling him.
Reluctantly, Chase let go. "Where are we?" He looked around and noticed they were at the apex of a semi-circular, interlocking stone driveway. Standing next to them was a grand structure, a beautiful mansion. The face was red brick with white panels highlighting the portico, and dark green shutters around each window. The classic look and feel of the structure was complimented by how it was nestled so snugly in the Princeton flora of tall trees, and rich, flowering shrubs.
"226 Province Line Road," House said looking up at the ivy that had somehow been contained in a straight row along the lower ledge of the second level windows but allowed to grow down.
"It's nice," Chase commented unenthusiastically, much rather preferring to wrap himself around House again, even if only for the expression of surprise it would briefly gleam on the older face. The imagery pulled his lips up in a smile.
House chose that moment to look back at him. His eyes narrowed at the expression. "What?"
"Nothing," Chase said with a shake of his head and a real smile. He looked to the house, his smile fading away, but its brief appearance left them both a little lighter. "Is it yours?" the young man asked in regard to the residence.
"Nope. It's yours." House didn't let Chase even begin to sputter in surprise at him. He reached back and patted his upper thigh, as close to the curve of his buttocks as he could reach. "Come on. Off." Chase followed the order and House dismounted as well, after grabbing his cane from the trusty holder. "I figured you wouldn't have explored any of what you'd been given. That's a little ungrateful."
"You went through the envelope," Chase accused. He couldn't really bring himself to be angry. Now that he knew, he felt he should have expected it. The man had accessed his accounts and paid all his bills, this wasn't any worse.
"I don't have the key."
"I do." He pulled a small ring of four or so keys from his jean pocket and jingled them for a second.
"What if there's a security system?" Chase asked as he watched House unlock the door and press down the little brass lever above the handle.
"How many houses have you busted into? And how many had alarm systems?" It took some force but the door opened with the sound of breaking suction; that loud, sort of smacking sound. There was no sound of an alarm. "Told ya. Besides, mobsters prefer the rapid projectile delivery security systems. I'm betting we'll find a couple if we look in the right places." House and Chase walked in and craned their necks to look around the spacious two story foyer, adorned with marble tiles, a delicate crystal chandelier, and a graceful arch of white steps leading to the upper level. The arched doorway to the right gave a shallow glimpse into the living room, complete with a baby-grand piano stained with a natural wood finish. To their left was and other archway to what looked like a dining room and another room beyond that. "Might take us a while," House ended wishing he'd brought the floor-plan with him.
Not sure whether it was necessary, but still feeling like an intruder, Chase stepped out of his shoes. He walked farther forward and entered an oval shaped room lined with bookshelves on the left and a fireplace opposite. Fire and a library –why did that seem wrong? Chase chuckled to himself and went up to the set of four windows than extended from floor to ceiling, at the far end of the room. Beyond the transparent barrier was a spectacular view of the well manicured and obviously professionally designed landscape.
A grassy terrace lined with a thin metal rail and a set of steps at the far end, led down to the lovely open area centred around the oval pool at the end of the vista. The foliage was tended to an aesthetically pleasing symmetry of tall trees, and well-placed shrub in the long, wide lane of grass leading to the spot of blue in the expanse of green. The careful work in shaping the landscape was done in such a way that, though neat, it still looked somewhat natural. It was the mark of a very good landscaper. The other secrets of the backyard, the perennial garden, the gazebo, the two bedroom cottage tucked away somewhere in the seven acres would be discovered on subsequent trips up here but not today.
"Montrose had a thing for banned books." House's voice pulled him from his study of the backyard. "Ulysses, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, The Satanic Verses; here's one for you. The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read."
House turned to Chase who was eying the fireplace and asked, "Before or after seminary?"
"Was it any good?"
"It was alright. I think you'd like it," Chase said with a drolly. "Can we go now?"
"Soon," he lied and exited the small library. Chase followed him out and to the living room. It was tasteful, with the rug in the centre over the hardwood, the matching furniture set, paintings decorating the off-white walls, and the delicate natural light that seemed to permeate every room. The room itself was large, more like a small ballroom than a living room, but the décor leant itself well to the space, filling it but not to the point of clutter.
"Where's his TV?" House's voice was incredulous.
"He wasn't a big fan of it," Chase answered.
"What a weirdo." He limped to a set of glass doors framed by blue patterned curtains and found a large sunroom. He went in, looked around, and shrugged, unimpressed with what he thought was a useless room. When he went back to the living room he found Chase was missing and he paused. "Chase," he called cautiously.
Damn it, Chase knew he had issues with stairs.
"There's a lift on the other side of the entrance hall, near the dining room." Chase did know he had issues with stairs. House followed the directions, taking an extra few seconds to pause and play a short scale on the piano and determining it to be slightly out of tune. Mrs. Grant told him that she'd left the cleaners and gardeners on contract. She'd been taking care of the estate since Montrose had been incarcerated, and had continue to do so when it was given to Chase. That explained why there was no dust but apparently tuners weren't part of the deal.
He found the lift, figured out how to work it, smiled at its convenience as he ascended. Maybe he could convince Chase to spend a weekend or two out here.
He followed the faint sound of papers rustling and discovered Chase in the study past the master bedroom. "So what have you found?"
"A TV." He pointed to the small flat screen device resting on a corner of the desk. "Family secrets, personal demons." The accented voice was dull, sad. House didn't like it but he wasn't going to force it away. He walked over and looked at the object in Chase's hand. It was an old, cracked picture. A boy, and a woman who carried the same haunted expression that Chase sometimes did. House took the image from the slack fingers and flipped it over to read the caption. 'Zinedine and Andrea.'
"His mother. Montrose's victim."
House followed his hunch and came to the correct and depressing conclusion. "He raped her."
Chase gave a jerky nod and looked out the window to the mass of trees. "Zid was the result. He and his mother always had a difficult relationship, he didn't understand why but he wanted to know. So she told him."
House recalled what seemed like so long ago, René in the hospital, by the side of the ailing intensivist before they'd figured out what was wrong. He'd mentioned a personal problem that he was taking care of. Not long later he'd killed himself.
"She really hated him. She couldn't love him and she couldn't get rid of him for fear of what Montrose would do," Chase continued. "I met her at the Montrose's funeral. She was glad he was dead. She was glad they were both dead."
"You didn't hit her, did you?" It would have been an ill-advised action but Chase had been and still was prone to uncharacteristic outbursts when things hit a little too close to home.
"No. Almost did but she was hurt. She'd carried, and lived with a reminder of what had happened to her."
"What are those?"
"Letters Montrose kept."
"She wrote him?" Not something most rape victims would do, even if the rapist had fathered her child.
"No, he wrote her. They must have been returned." He dropped them on the desk he'd been digging through. "They aren't the most comforting things in the world." The Montrose of those letters was a monster, and sounded suspiciously like Yarrow, another monster he knew too well. Maybe they all sounded the same.
"I think maybe it's time we put all those fireplaces to good use," the older man suggested.
Chase and House looked up from where they sat in front of the living room fireplace, papers and pictures strewn around them. The light from the flames danced a faint pattern of orange hues on their faces and highlighted the red-gold in Chase's hair.
"Finally. Took you long enough pizza-boy," House complained, from the floor.
Wilson shook his head and placed the two boxes of pizza House had ordered him to get on the long, low table in the middle of the room. House had called him about an hour ago, demanding his presence at Chase's new house and that he bring two pizza's as an entry fee. He'd almost declined until he was reminded that he had nothing better to do.
"What are you guys doing?" His eyes roved the lavish but still warm interior of the multi-million dollar home.
"Erasing memories," Chase responded throwing another paper into the contained blaze, and watching with satisfaction as it curled, blackened and burned.
If only it were that easy, Wilson thought. His eyes met House's and he could read the same sentiment mirrored in his friend's thoughts. House and Wilson talked quietly finally feeling like the friends they were to each other, with no subtle undercurrent of unspoken attraction. Wilson knew now that he hadn't lost House to Chase, he'd just gained Chase. And House hadn't really changed, he was just happy; for the first time in quite a while. Maybe that did count as a change in him.
While they chatted, mostly about unimportant things regarding the dwelling, Chase continued to tear pictures and toss them and other pieces of paper on the fire. Although it was an expensive house, with expensive furnishings, hiding costly secrets, it still felt like a home, with all the warmth and history one would expect. He knew his actions here wouldn't change any history, and the recording of history would likely skip over him and these other insignificant people but he was compelled to do this. He was putting an end to the secret that had hurt too many people, set too many things in motion.
"He'll buy it." His ears eventually tuned back in when the majority of his items designated for burning were doing just that.
"He's not your 'Sugar Daddy'."
"You saying I'm not pretty enough?"
Chase laughed quietly but didn't turn around or interrupt the exchange.
House made a retort that drew a laugh from the oncologist and Chase remained with his back to them. Their banter and the intricate dance of the flames was calming. He didn't know what it was about fire but it was almost hypnotic. He just wanted to sit and enjoy the peace. Enjoy, what he hoped was the end of this ordeal and put the demons to rest. And maybe make amends for some of the pain that had been caused.
"Something for Dr. Cuddy."
House looked at the envelope, both sides. It was thin and light. He held it up to the light but it was one of those special envelopes that had the pattern on the inside so that snoopy people couldn't read what was inside.
"How come Cuddy gets gifts and not me?" Chase just gave him a look. "That one was Steve's."
"Steve needs a new game for his PSP?"
Chase shook his head. "Just give it to her."
"Do you know what people do to the bearer of bad news?"
"It's not bad news."
"Then what is it?"
"Oh." The simple answer put an end to his meddling but the silence didn't feel right, so House was about to meddle some more. What else was he supposed to do on a Tuesday night? Also Chase had been in a particularly good mood the last two days and silence was a waste of it. So, he was going to keep talking, possibly to the extent that he ruined his partner's good mood but Chase had other plans. The only warning he got was a somewhat calculating look before Chase straddled him, knees and thighs brushing against the outer sides of his lap and their groins tantalizingly close.
With his hands grasping the back of the couch at either side of his lover's head Chase leaned forward until he could feel each House's breath and practically taste his smirk. "Is this the only way to shut you up?"
Rob wasn't above bribing him with sex, and Greg wasn't above accepting sex as a bribe from him. They were practically made for each other.
Greg moved his hands up the firm thighs and then around to rest on the swell of the enticing rear. He leaned his head up to read the young man's expression and found only the barest hint of uncertainty. When he leaned down to kiss him none of the uncertainty was there. Rob pulled away first, eyes half lidded and breathing heavy. He didn't move too far, leaving Greg to nip at his lower lip.
"Will you give it to Cuddy for me?"
"Why can't you do it yourself?" Greg moved his lips along the smooth jaw and down Rob's neck.
"Please," Rob asked sweetly, knowing that it was probably making Greg's stomach turn because he knew he'd give in.
"Fine, damn it! Now shut up." They went back to busying themselves with the other's lips and tongue.
The next day House put off visiting Cuddy. He carried the envelope around with him, folded in half in his back pocket. It was probably a little crumpled since he'd sat on it more than a couple of times today but Chase hadn't said anything about it needing special attention. Eventually, with no patient, the weird feeling in diagnostics with it missing one member, and the incessant nagging of the part of his mind that didn't want to disappoint Rob by not giving the envelope to Cuddy, he forced himslef to the hospital administrator's office.
"Have you looked at the resumes yet? You have to hire a new fellow. It's a teaching hospital. We have to teach people," Cuddy laid into him the moment she saw him. House just cringed and didn't respond.
Cuddy stared at the folded paper, realizing after a second that it was an envelope. "It's not a letter bomb is it?" She took it, still eying her difficult physician.
"Well, open it. I want to know what's in there. He didn't tell me."
"Chase?" Cuddy smirked. House delivered an envelope, without opening it. There were ways to open it and make it look like he hadn't, if he cared not to be caught, but even with the added mystery of Chase not disclosing what was within he resisted. This was probably as close to whipped as House would get. She opened the letter and pulled out the letter inside. When she unfolded it another small paper fell out.
"A cheque? That's it?" House was about to stomp out, the conclusion to his episode of curiosity, and the turmoil over whether he should open the letter, having ended rather anti-climatically.
"Wow," the brunette breathed. That paused House. Cuddy didn't usually sound like that. Nothing he did ever seemed to surprise Cuddy. He angered and annoyed her, but never surprised her. Chase was one up on him.
"This has to be the largest, most crumpled donation ever," she said, still in the soft astounded tone.
Eyes narrowed Greg limped over. "How much?"
"Ten-million dollars? And ten more for each of the next four years? Are you nuts?" The yell carried well through the apartment since it wasn't that big, but Chase wasn't far away. Leaning against the wall in the corridor leading to the bedroom and bathroom Chase was startled out of his daydream.
"What?" He turned troubled eyes to the unshaven man who'd just burst in, barely remembering to keep a grip on the cordless phone in his right hand.
House's indignation over the fifty million dollar donation vanished in an instant, replaced with worry. Something was wrong.
"It's nothing," Chase refuted before House even asked.
"Pre-emptive denial is never a good cover," said House. He walked over standing close to Chase, trapping him with his presence against the wall. His heart rate picked up when the young man wouldn't even meet his eyes. Something was really wrong. "Who were you talking to? Don't say nobody."
Rob swallowed with difficulty his eyes shifted to the area past Greg's left arm. "Doctor Greenway."
Greg didn't recognize the name.
"He's from a medical centre in South Brunswick," Rob explained listlessly. "I go there… to get tested."
Greg was going to ask "tested for what"? Thankfully everything clicked before his ineptness forced Rob to repeat what he probably could barely even say. The dawning knowledge had his chin lifting from its perch down near his chest. That same troubled expression was now on his face too as he tried to ask a question. His lips half-formed the beginning of his words but no sound pushed them out.
Rob knew what he wanted to ask, and with difficulty he answered. "Positive for…for HIV."
Oh, please no, Greg begged silently. This couldn't be happening. After everything they'd made it through, a microscopic retrovirus was going to spell his demise in three letters. Greg looked away to one side, then the other, trying to find some sense, some perspective that didn't threaten to swamp him with rage and helplessness.
Rob risked a quick glance up. He had to look quickly away from the barely concealed emotion on the usually controlled face. He felt his own anxiety heighten, and he struggled to stamp it down and think logically. As a doctor he knew quite a bit about HIV and AIDS. He was well aware of the new drugs that leant hope to longer better lives for those infected. He also knew the cold, hard stats, and the difficulties doctors didn't ignore when informing a lay-person but didn't dwell on. Hope was what they tried to emphasize. He couldn't find any of that right now.
"I'm sorry," he whispered and saw from the edge of his vision the older man shaking his head. "I'm sorry." He tried to move back, distance himself from the man he'd just hurt again but the wall was already against him. When he tried to move to the side he was stopped by one arm then another.
"There are drugs," Greg finally said. "You'll be okay. We'll be okay." He'd never been one to put a great deal of faith in words but he tried desperately to believe what he was saying. Some very lucky people had HIV that never turned into AIDS. Maybe Rob could slip into that very slim minority. "It'll be okay."
With Greg's arms wrapped tightly around his back Rob gave in and leaned into the taller man, resting his forehead on the lean chest. He stood there cheerless, because unless he inherited a slew of good luck along with his millions, his life would end early. Now that he'd finally found someone that made the days less long and lonely, his were numbered. He would end up hurting Greg again.
Rob felt the hand resting on his upper back press against him as the fingers curled into a tight fist, catching some of the material of his shirt. The bite of his nails in Greg's palm was dulled by the layer of cotton between, but the bite of loss was a dull ache that he expected to grow deeper and stronger. Greg was too close to pull away and too stubborn to give up. He'd have to face his nightmare. He'd have to watch his young lover fade slowly away. Side-effects of the medication, HIV transitioning to AIDS, the gradually decline his health; it was a process that would take years and he would be there for everyday. As they faced together the impending loss, they both knew, or at least hoped, that what they could share now and until the day Robert Chase was stolen away, would be worth the pain of that most permanent of separations.
"We'll be okay," Greg reiterated through the tightening of his throat and the sting in his eyes.
Rob held him tighter and nodded.
In those next few weeks both Chase and House had to remind themselves that the drugs were actually helping, despite all evidence to the contrary. After doing a repeat test at Princeton General, since Chase refused to have it done at PPTH, and another positive result, a heavy regimen of anti-retrovirals was prescribed. Hopeful that they'd caught the virus early enough to stave off its replication and push back the onset of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Chase's new doctor –located in the Princeton area –prescribed the numerous drugs saying that Chase should have been taking them since his release from prison. Disclosing the method of his infection had been difficult but to his credit Chase's physician had not reacted with anything but sympathy and concern. For once House had been grateful for somebody with a good bedside manner.
There was a drawer in the kitchen that had been emptied of knick-knacks in order to hold the numerous medications to combat the HIV and the medications to combat the side effects of the previously mentioned drugs. AZT, DLV, SQV, so many acronyms and a long list of potential side effects to go along with them. Chase came down with big three early in the treatment: nausea, fatigue, diarrhoea. He also came down later with a few choice symptoms: headaches, dizziness, fever, and a spattering of others that showed up better on blood tests but added to the general feeling of malaise.
Unable to do anything but provide meagre but appreciated amounts of comfort through touch and words, House had suffered remotely. Chase suffered directly and remotely; first by the side effects and then, in moments that he was actually clear headed enough to notice, when he saw the expression on House's face. All he could do to help House was to give in when he was trying to help even if he sometimes didn't want it.
Touching had been an issue for days after he found out about his status. He'd kept House at a distance, feeling dirty and knowing that he was a danger in that he could infect House if they weren't careful. It had taken House yelling at him about the difference between careful and ridiculous that he began to relax. Still the nagging thought remained, telling him that he had to keep House safe. He couldn't fail this time.
Chase nodded and tried to look well, which was a near impossible feat when one was hunched over the toilet bowl fighting the waves of nausea that pushed even dark green bile up from his GI tract.
Standing at the door House shifted, knowing there was nothing he could do directly. The anti-emetic Chase had been given was doing squat.
When finally it ended Chase rinsed out his mouth and stumbled to the bed.
"You didn't eat the soup," House said softly as he pulled the sheets over the worn out man. He'd made the soup before he'd gone to work (where he'd done little but worry and snap at his two remaining fellows who knew nothing of what was going on). He'd hoped that today would be a good day, which they defined as two or fewer vomiting episodes; though by the expert's standards even four episodes was considered mild.
Head resting on the pillow and eyes closed Chase mumbled, "NPO." Non par os; doc-speak for "nothing by mouth"
"You were NPO yesterday," House said sourly. Chase didn't respond, already drifting in an area close enough to sleep that he couldn't be bothered to answer. Sighing Greg ran his fingers through the blond strands that weren't as short as they used to be.
A shy knock at the door forced House away from the bedside. He answered the door to find Wilson and seriously considered giving the man back the extra key so that he could just let himself in.
"How is he?" Wilson took off his jacket and shoes, watching House's back as he disappeared into the kitchen.
"Same as yesterday."
"The side-effects will fade," Wilson informed. He was well versed in drug side-effects considering that cancer drugs, among the most aggressive and varied, had some of the worst side-effects. He went to the kitchen and found House idly stirring what looked to be cold chicken noodle soup.
"Sure they fade, until his body finds another less than pleasant use for some other drug he's taking."
"The drugs are helping," Wilson reminded. He'd said that a lot recently to Chase, House and himself. There was a balance that would be found and then things would look better. Until then Wilson was willing to help even if only by filling their stomachs with something better than House's specialty of canned soup and PB&J.
He was too thin. Chase looked at the body and shook his head. The faint outline of ribs were casting shadows if the light was right. The arms and legs were thinner, weaker. The cheeks of the pale face were slightly hollowed; defining cheekbones, sinking eyes, and taking away the subtle, full contours that had made the man so appealing before. He looked sick even if in these last few days he'd been feeling better.
"Beautiful," came the commentary. When he turned his head to ask House if he wanted to get his eyes checked, his lips were trapped in a kiss. "Back in a few hours," House mumbled as close to Chase as possible. He kissed him again and then exited with the help of his trusty cane.
"You're back earlier than I thought you'd be." It was past ten but when he'd called House at PPTH it had sounded like he might be there all night.
House shrugged out of his jacket and dress-shirt, dropping them on the floor near the entrance of the bedroom. On the bed, book in hand, Chase scowled at the mess but didn't comment.
"Just your typical parasite hitch-hiking across borders in a human host," he commented enigmatically about the case that had been keeping him busy. With it concluded he felt his usual high of being, eventually, right. He would share the case with Chase, as had become their tradition of late, since the younger man was still not quite well enough to go back to work.
"So your guy's going to be okay."
"Yeah, eventually. You okay?"
"I need a shower," House announced, dropping the rest of his close on the floor before head to the washroom buck naked. Chase watched him go, enjoying the view. He was going to go back to his book but in the space of a few short seconds he'd lost interest, and now abandoned it for the more intriguing story of House naked in the shower. It was a welcomed surprise for the diagnostician when Chase joined him under the spray a few minutes later. House didn't ask questions. Lips met and hands wandered over wet skin.This intimacy was a rare. Though not the first time they'd been together since Chase was found to be HIV-positive it was ther first time Chase had initiated it. There was little hesitancy when they kissed now and it was a step towards what would have to count as normal for their relationship from now on.
Wet and exhausted they managed to get out of the shower, get changed and back to bed where, once wrapped comfortable around each other, they drifted to a peaceful sleep.
Hours later Greg could not ignore the need to urinate. Cursing his bladder he reluctantly detangled from the warm form and walked to the washroom. He didn't bother turning on the light. His eyes had adjusted enough to the dark to make out the rim of the bowl. His business taken care of Greg made it back to the bed and enfolded his arms around his bed-mate who looked to be missing the warmth. The slight frown of discomfort eased and Greg smiled, tucking his head close to his lover. He was just beginning to slip back into sleep when he realised something. He'd walked to the washroom! He'd walked with barely a limp to be noticed and only the ache of overexertion bothering the muscle of his right thigh! The blue eyes snapped open and he removed one arm from its position encircling Chase to rub at the injured limb.
It could be that the pain inflicted by Yarrow's callous attack had passed and that the ketamine treatment was still in affect but that there had been a new injury that needed time to heal. There were other explanations, many including the different concentration of brain chemicals floating through his head. Everyone always told him, and he knew it himself, that his body responded physically to his mental state, usually with changes in pain. Perhaps this was what it was like to be happy. Should the lack of pain last until tomorrow, a quick scan of his head would probably lay the mystery to rest, fill in the hole in reality that marked this as a miracle or some unexpected work of forces beyond their current level of understanding.
He embraced Chase again, taking a moment to run his hand through the soft hair, pulling a sigh from the sleeping man. Greg kissed him lightly and then lay down to rest, leaving the mystery of the situation to rest as well. He couldn't explain the lack of pain, but he also couldn't explain how he'd managed to find maybe the one person in this unforgiving and unfair world that he could feel this close to. Yeats wrote: the world's more full of weeping than you can understand. Both Greg and Rob would agree that it was also full of other things too.
End Chapter 16
"Doctor House would you like to say something?"
Say something? What could he tell them when there was so much? There were the arguments and Rob never allowing them to go to sleep without reaching some sort of conclusion. There were the moments of triumph when they saved a life or many, even if their methods got them in trouble. There were days of sadness and worry when one of them was ill. There were the shared laughs, shared friends, shared time. There were the moments of intimacy in both touch and in music, the express of the deepest parts of themselves; the piano for Robert and the violin for Gregory. He'd played when Greg asked even when he hadn't really wanted to. Greg asked him to play in the hopes that one day when the sweet sounds were made there was no accompaniment of tears. And some days there hadn't been. In those moments Rob was free of the hidden pains and the undiscovered or unacknowledged torments that had been his secret burdens for so long. And there had been the love and friendship they shared.
It was so much to tell. What words would do it justice, and who were these people that they deserved to know?
Most of them were benefactors of Rob's generosity, leaders of respective charities. Some where grateful patients, some were old and new friends. Too many were gold digging relatives who had ignored Robert Chase and his troubles until they'd discovered his newfound wealth. If they came here in hopes of some inheritance they'd be disappointed though they shouldn't be surprised. Rob had left everything to Greg though he'd already given away most of his millions. The millions Greg now received were cold comfort after the loss of the man he loved.
From the front row of the moderate crowd Greg House slowly stood to say something.
"Doctor Robert Nicholas Chase was born November nineteenth, nineteen seventy-nine. He died August thirtieth, twenty fifteen. In between, he was a better person than most people knew or gave him credit for. I knew, but I'm not going to stand here and explain why or how now that he's dead. Most of you are too damn late, and you can keep your heart-warming stories to yourselves."
He turned to look down at the casket. He brushed his fingers over the smooth cool varnish. Many who didn't really know much about the two men were surprised when he carefully went to one knee and briefly kissed the wood that now encased his lover and companion of the last many, finally happy, years. He stood and walked away leaning heavily on his cane. When he brought his left hand to his face it was to wipe away tears.
Wilson fell into step next to him. He'd remained at the back of the group of mourners. His sadness had become too much outrage when he noticed the numerous people that Chase didn't even know coming to pay their last respects when 'd given him none during his life. "He would have liked your eulogy."
"I know he did. I told him what I was going to say."
A week ago, in the hospital –PPTH because House said so –Greg told him. Frail, tired, dying, the older man sat in a chair next the bed, touching him, fussing over him, soothing his ailment and unrest with words. He told him how much he loved him, how happy he was to love him, how he was a better person for loving him. He'd confessed, his prayers, and his hopes, and his unanswered miracles. Robert had barely the strength to respond in kind, only managing a simple "I love you, always" and weak pressure with his thin hand to sooth. And when, during a quiet night, he finally slipped away, into what Greg now hoped was eternal peace, he had stopped the attempts at resuscitation before they could begin, knowing that if they managed to bring him back it would be so that he could linger for a few hours, maybe a few days, only to leave again.
The room silent and quiet, and Greg was alone. He leaned over and lightly kissed him one last time. The tragedies that had forced them together had, ultimately, separated them again. Gregory House hunched over the bed, over the warm body of Robert Chase and wept.
End A World More Full of Weeping
Sorry. I know some people were probably hoping for a happier ending but I thought this ending fit best.
Thanks for reading this story. It actually turned in to a novel (over 100,000 words). Not sure exactly how it got there, but many kudos to you if you managed to get to the end. It was fun to write and your comments really helped. I'm going to take a break (finish a story in a different fandom that I sort of neglected) then I'll be back with some other stories. At least that's the plan. Ciao! And again, thanks so much for taking the time to read this story!