Title: You Leave Me Breathless

Summary: Chase hasn't shown up for his first day of work since his suspension ended. House is interested in exactly what is wrong. And when House is interested in something, or somebody, that somebody is not going to escape from him.

Time Frame: Between 'The Mistake' and 'Deception'

Pairing: Chase/House

Author's Note: Jesse Spencer looks miserable on the box of Season Two, don't you think? Well, I do so I decided to write a story where he is depressed. And why not make him sick as well? And then it rather grew... and grew... Well, you get it. I am going to continue this into a variety of short sequels to bumble through the rest of Season Two with a House/Chase relationship from this point while carefully avoiding most of the content of the episodes to focus on the relationships. Just to warn you. Like I said, it grew...

Disclaimer: Be forewarned of boy/boy. Sorry if it offends you, but I just can't help myself. Also, I do not have any ownership of House nor do I have permission to use the characters. I'm just doing it anyway, but I'm not profiting, so it all evens out. Thank you.

House pauses in the doorway, a frown creasing his forehead.

"Where's Chase?" he asks. "Isn't this supposed to be his first day back?"

Cameron doesn't reply; she just looks non-specifically uncomfortable where she's sitting in her chair. Foreman, on the other hand, stands up to face him. House manages not to roll his eyes. He hasn't felt anything this hostile since Stacey's husband left. Honestly, the testosterone.

"Chase called in sick," the neurologist reports. "Said he had a bad case of the flu."

House limps in, fumbling for his Vicodin, the frown still as present and still as pronounced.

"Chase had flu last month," he begins. "He still came into work and we had to put up with him sneezing and popping Tylenol for a week."

"You pop Vicodin-"

"He's just sicker this-"

Foreman's protestation about House's hypocrisy and Cameron's justifications for why Chase could have flu this time mingle and turn into gibberish in House's ears as he swallows a pill. Having done this, he proceeds to interrupt.

"The point is," he says loudly, "that Chase is a workaholic and he would not stay home unless he is really sick."

Cameron shuts up, as House intended, but Foreman retains the defiant stance that superior power always gives a former subordinate.

"If Chase is sick, then that's his problem. We have a patient to diagnose."

"Yeah," House agrees.

He runs his eyes over the list of symptoms that Foreman (who has obviously stolen privileges) has written on the whiteboard before rolling them in their sockets in exasperation.

"Do I need to do everything around here?" he demands. "How old is he?"

"She," Cameron corrects.

"He, she, the pronoun is relative. Give me the age."

"She's twelve, why does it matter?" Foreman demands.

House sighs.

"Was she vaccinated?" he demands.

Cameron grabs the child's medical records, then shakes her head. House nods.

"Thought not. She's got measles. Now can I go and check up on Chase, boss?" he asks, sarcasm directed somewhat obviously at Foreman.

Foreman sighs.

"If you really must," he concedes. "But as soon as you've checked him out and confirmed that he is being a pussy about influenza, get back here before Cuddy gets on my ass about you not doing your clinic hours."

House smiles with self-satisfaction and limps out of the room, feeling pretty damn good about getting his own way even though Foreman objects to it. He limps progressively through the hospital to the parking lot, clips his cane into the grip on his motorbike, mounts it and speeds off into the wide blue yonder. Well, New Jersey. Seven broken speed limits later, he arrives outside the apartment block where Chase lives. On the top floor, of course. Awkward little wombat. And the elevators are almost bound to be out of order.

Grumbling something about how "Chase had better be pretty sick or they'll be hell to pay", House limps through the door and pauses in front of some remarkably operational elevators. Maybe there is a God after all. He presses the button then boards the elevator, riding it to the top floor, before disembarking into the corridor to Chase's apartment. There's a doorbell next to (unsurprisingly) the door. House ignores it and whacks on the door with the handle of his cane instead.

There's no answer. House hits the door harder.

Still no answer.

Chase must be pretty sick if he can't even answer the door. But now House has three options. He can go on whacking the door until Chase drags himself out of bed to let him in (unlikely), he can slip the lock with a credit card (time-consuming but a lot more likely), or he can go back to the hospital empty-handed to Foreman gloating (pigs will fly before this happens). He sighs. Time to break out the credit card.