Update/Edit - September 2011.
Planning to finish this, but with Cameron long gone I've replaced her with Thirteen (and I've slightly rewritten a few parts).
We fall down, and we get up again.
Chapter 1. Never be late.
8:50 a.m. , it was a beautiful autumn day with clear skies, and Chase was in a hurry.
He had a cup of coffee in his left hand, his bag over his right shoulder and almost 10 minutes left to buy a sandwich and make it to House's office.
He rushed up the steps in front of the hospital entrance.
There was nothing to trip over, the floor wasn't slippery, there were only 4 steps.
And yet somehow he misjudged the distance.
The toe of his left shoe got caught underneath a step and he tripped, stumbled.
His left hand was holding his caffeine-fix, his right hand pushed his bag closer to his side – that left his right foot to catch him from falling.
He saw it twist underneath him, almost in slow motion, before he felt it.
In stead of letting go of everything, so that he had both hands free, he just squeezed his coffee even harder.
The lid plopped off, and his coffee was flying through the air, most of it landing on his sleeve.
The contents of his bag were still securely kept inside by his right hand and Chase's knee and shoulder hit the ground.
And of course then he finally did let go.
He pushed himself up, wincing at the sharp pain that was shooting through his right ankle, and then he quickly scanned the area to check if no one had seen him fall.
He was alone.
He picked up his now empty coffee cup and, deciding he should go indoors, dusted his jeans and shirt off – only making the giant coffee stain even bigger – and carefully hobbled into the clinic. He frowned as he tossed the coffee cup in the first trashcan he passed, and then sat down on a chair near the elevators to assess the damage.
House just had gotten in. His backpack was casually slung over his shoulder. It wasn't long before he spotted Chase who was sitting down at the end of the hallway.
Wearing something very similar to what he had dragged out of his closet that morning. Damn!
"Dr. Chase !" House shouted, slowly walking toward him, heads turning his way.
"Nice outfit! But sadly just dressing like me doesn't make you a brilliant doctor, especially not with that HUGE STAIN on your sleeve."
Chase looked very annoyed and slowly got up, rubbing the stain again with no result.
House continued, not lowering his voice one bit even though he was much closer now.
"I know I am the perfect role model, but …"
House stopped dead in his tracks and glared at Chase who took a few limping steps towards him.
"That's not funny."
Much lower volume now, closer to a mumble. An instant change in House, the tone of his voice, his posture.
The look in his eyes had gone from bemusement to something much darker and colder.
"I know," said Chase grumpily, "and I'm not wearing coffee because it's in season. Tripped on the steps, I twisted my ankle."
House hesitated, then nodded curtly. He walked to the elevator and held the door open with his cane, waiting for Chase to follow him.
They silently made it into the whiteboard room where Thirteen was already sitting down with a few files in front of her.
She looked up at them, then did a double-take and looked at Chase. "Are you OK?"
"Twisted ankle, he'll live," House said dismissively.
But he pulled back a chair, directed Chase into it, then lowered himself onto the chair opposite him.
House dropped his cane to the floor with a clatter and motioned with his hand: "Foot."
Chase hesitated for just a second, then carefully took off his shoe and sock and let House put his foot onto his own leg so he could examine it.
Chase hissed in pain and in a reflex tried to pull away his foot as House checked his range of motion and prodded his ankle around the swelling.
"Oh you big wuss, it's not like it's broken !"
But House immediately lessened the pressure and after a few more prods and twists he gently lowered Chase's foot again.
"Thirteen, there's an ice-pack in the fridge, what's our case ?"
Thirteen tossed Chase a cold blue gel wrap and picked up one of the files.
"28-year-old woman got in a car accident. She's been in a coma for the past 2 weeks.
Initially she was getting better but now she's getting worse and they can't find out why.
Heart palpitations, and .. recovery is not going as fast as it should go. She has multiple…"
Foreman walked in. "Hey, I ... Chase – you OK?"
Chase shrugged as House turned to Foreman:
"You're late". He didn't wait for an explanation, but turned to Thirteen: "Continue."
"She has multiple injuries and probably brain damage."
House scoffed : "So we will save her life so she can drool all over the place and be put in some home
where her mom and dad will visit her once a month…?"
Thirteen closed the file and smiled at House.
"It's a Jane Doe. She had no ID on her when she was brought in.
No one knows who she is, let alone if she has any family. We don't even have her medical history."
House paused. He knew Thirteen knew that the Jane Doe part would get his attention, and she was right.
"So we get her better, and hope she remembers her name…nice. We'll take the case."
"Foreman, take a look at her MRI's, Thirteen check her heart, Chase – draw blood , start from scratch – we don't have a history, assume everything can be the cause. And then go elevate that foot in the lab. Stay at least 50 ft away from me at all times, I'm not walking through the hall with you until your limp is gone. That's my trademark. And you can't keep up with me anyway."