You already know this, but I'll say it anyhow: I don't own Chase, or House, or any of the creations of David Shore and company. I'm borrowing the toys of others, at no profit to myself--but I play nicely, I promise.

Art History

He doesn't know why he has kept that one, incongruous poster. Why it's the only remaining piece of his collegiate decor; hell, why he bought it in the first place. He said, to his college buddies, that he liked it because the naked girl was hot, but that's not true; she's made of marble, or ivory. It depends which version of the story you read. There's an amazing lack of sexuality about the picture. He's got no reason to keep it, but he goes and has it re-framed, trading the plastic dorm-room mounting for one of elegant glass and wood.

His apartment's all beige carpet and white paint and nice lighting. His friends--well, his acquaintances--tell him it looks like the 80s, too many lacquered surfaces and too much leather. The girls he brings home don't mind, though. He leaves medical journals in 'accidentally' conspicuous places, keeps a stethoscope in the nightstand; there's a reason they call it 'playing doctor.' He has plenty of unremarkable brown and tan images on the walls, and that one poster is the only thing that's colorful, wasn't expensive, and doesn't match the sofa. When a girl asks about it, he tells her about Pygmalion, the sculptor who became enamored of his own most perfect sculpture. They think it's romantic, the stupid cows. They never feel sad for Galatea, the statue, and he thinks they should. He doesn't ask himself why he's bothered by it, why he feels vaguely ill about the part where the goddess grants Pygmalion's wish and brings the work of art to life.

What he knows is that if he tells that story, and they like it, and get that look—I could be his Galatea—then it'll be over within a week. Max.

Sometimes he looks around the place, sees a meticulously clean mausoleum, a place fit only for dead men and statues, and he wonders what he will look like when, or if, he finally comes forth. He's not sure there's a point to emerging at all, and he can't figure out if this job of his is forcing him outward or sealing him even further in. It may not matter, either way, but he'd like to have some warning if he's going to crawl out into the sunlight one day and find himself behaving like House. He's certainly detached enough, but then, much of House's problem is that he isn't detached, not really. House gives a shit, and hates himself for that. He shoves the thought aside, staring at that one, framed spot of color. No, he won't be like House, but that negative definition does not bring him any closer to knowing what he will be.

The scene in the poster was painted in the 1800s, and it's a hopelessly silly confection. Pygmalion, the sculptor, rests his fevered gaze upon the ivory maiden, insanely in love with his own creation, because no mere human was good enough. It will be Aphrodite who grants his wish, making Galatea into a real girl. In most of the stories, Galatea does love him. In others she does not. It's early on a Saturday afternoon when Chase opens a beer, looks again, and knows that in his world she doesn't even come to life at all—or she hasn't, yet. Aphrodite's been a no-show, so far. And suddenly he knows that's why he still has the poster, because his old man was Pygmalion and he's Galatea, perfectly sculpted and lifeless. Waiting for the impossible.

He nurses the bottle of Corona and wonders if he'll ever find a girl who, when he tells her the story, will twist up her mouth and declare it creepy and sick, because it is, and he would know. But so far none of them have done that; most have even wanted to climb on the sculptor's pedestal, trading their real flaws for that so-called perfection. They have handed him the chisel, and he has quietly set it down and shown them to the door. They have no idea that he isn't the artist in the story. He never will be.

He's pretty sure that even if the gods had intervened and he'd been transformed to flesh and blood, he still couldn't ever have loved his father.