Title: Moving In
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this, and if I was making any money, I'd just go out and buy the House DVDs, so I don't think the owners would sue me because they're getting the money anyway, right?
Summary: House hates letting people in, so he isn't too thrilled with the thought of Chase invading his apartment.
A/N: This is my first fic, so please be gentle!! I love this pairing a lot, and this is for everyone who's been feeding my obsession lately. Also, thanks to everyone who helped me fill House's fridge and cabinets!
The way Chase slid into his life, it was like he's always been there. He hated living with someone—even just letting someone stay with him—because when they moved in, so did their things, and House's home was a like a sanctuary; allowing someone to move their things in was like letting them move a little bit of themselves inside him, and the first time hadn't gone well. (It was going okay with Wilson, and he was the only one House would ever let sleep in his home without something NC-17 going on.)
When he and Stacey had gotten together, it was like two huge forces of nature slamming together. The bathroom became invaded, the sink crowded with hair spray, perfumes, even a new type of toothpaste, and the cabinets suddenly full of medicine, feminine products, and extra razor blades. They had never truly meshed in that respect; he'd put his cologne in one place only to return the next day and find that it had been replaced with a hairbrush or a cream. It was like a never-ending fight for supremacy that, although it was taking place throughout their entire relationship, centered in the bathroom.
When Chase moved in, the only things that were added were a new type of hair gel that wasn't as girly as he'd assumed and a new toothbrush. Chase used his toothpaste and type of soap, and didn't complain that the shower's water pressure was too high, even though House had turned it up a little on purpose just to see if he would.
The kitchen was more affected than anything else; Chase had said that he used to spend his free afternoons at home while he lived in Australia, and that the only people who had been there was the cook his father had, who was severe-looking and stricter than the nuns at his seminary school but was damn good at her job and willing to teach him. So, he had learned how to cook, and had brought new utensils with him. House had frowned as he'd watched Chase fill cabinets with "cooking devices" he'd never even seen before and pondered whether or not Chase was kinkier than he'd originally thought.
He'd been a little worried, because he enjoyed his fast food too much to switch to healthy eating every day, but when he'd warned Chase that he wasn't going to be doing any cooking, Chase had simply rolled his eyes and said that Chase wasn't going to be cooking all the time because his boss was a "first rate bastard who worked him to the bone for no apparent reason except that he was prettier" so House would just have to settle for pizza on weekdays. Pizza with those horrible little green peppers that House would later pick off and then, when Chase wasn't looking, stack on top of the last piece and eat.
Chase made meals that tasted pretty good, and the best thing was, as long as House didn't ask what was in them, he could even pretend they weren't healthy and thus he had no reason to complain. They usually ate on the couch, watching TV, although sometimes Chase sat in front of him, careful of his leg, and every once in awhile he'd wrap an arm around House's good leg, which made House pause in his chewing and then relax again, refusing to acknowledge it except for the occasional 'shift' that let his fingers brush the back of Chase's neck.
But it wasn't just the cooking, either. It was coming home to a full refrigerator, not just full of health things but his own favorites, beer and chips and even Ruben sandwiches that were supposed to be for lunch but he always ate the moment he caught sight of them. Before, he'd go and look to see if there was anything he wanted, and if there wasn't, he'd have to settle for leftovers or maybe even frosting from cans because, when he got home, his leg was usually hurting so bad he couldn't muster up the energy to go and get something. House was always a little shocked at the thrill of happiness that went through him when he saw that there were Cheetohs in the cabinet when he knew he'd eaten the last of them the night before. (Eaten them and, when Chase was sleeping, rolled them into his hair like curlers.)
The only thing he'd worried about after the first few weeks was Wilson. Wilson was as much a fixture in his apartment as the couch or his stashes of Vicodin (letting Chase know where his Vicodin was hidden was a big deal), and there would be no change to that.
Stacey had known how important Wilson was to him, but he could see in her, at the back of her mind, a swelling resentment. She didn't like how he laughed with Wilson, teased him, even touched him sometimes. She wasn't dumb enough to say anything, but House could see it. And it had become like a sore tooth toward the end of the relationship; he'd brought Wilson over just to annoy her, or go out to lunch with him instead of her, and she had just gotten angrier and angrier.
Chase knew how important Wilson was, too. And there had been a little awkwardness in the beginning, the two most important people in his life learning how to relate to each other not just as colleagues anymore, but as two people who shared a common friendship with House. But they'd gotten it pretty quickly; Chase would periodically wash the extra bedding that only Wilson used and he kept buttermilk pancake mix handy for when Wilson stayed over on the weekends and House demanded his friend's pancakes. (He even let Wilson bring over groceries, which was a little odd, until House realized it was just so that when Wilson stayed over he had things he liked to eat, too.) And Wilson would often sneak Australian beer into House's place, despite House's insistence that no foreign swill was allowed into his house, or bring a little extra money at lunch to pay for Chase's when the blonde was too busy scowling at House over making Wilson pay at all.
(If House thought about it, he probably would have realized that they were sharing the 'taking care of House duties,' with Wilson taking over more at work and Chase taking over more at home. But it was working, and pretty damn well too, so House didn't think about it; he just sat back and let them, reaping the benefits and batches of pancakes.)
But the biggest surprise was their sleeping arrangements. Chase was very good at staying still while asleep, so there weren't any incidents of waking up with extra weight on his bad leg, but he wasn't worried so much about that.
After the infarction had first happened, he had spent a few nights on the couch, watching TV, taking his pain meds, and drinking beer to numb the pain. It would work, inevitably, but Stacey would always shake him awake, bringing that horrible, never-ending pain back to forefront, and force him into their bed, scowling angrily like he had done something wrong by not being there with her. He knew she thought she was helping, but it just gave him another thing to hate her a little for.
Chase seemed to understand a little better; he knew that, especially now, House spent every available moment in bed with him, and that, if he didn't come in and instead chose to stay on the couch, the pain was too much and House just wanted to go to sleep, away from everyone, while he dealt with the pain.
The first time it had happened, Chase had done nothing, said nothing. The second time, he'd woken up the next morning with the TV off, a Vicodin already out on the table, and breakfast early.
The third time, he'd come awake on the couch to the feel of someone lifting his head, sliding a pillow under, and a light blanket thrown across him carefully. His mind was still fuzzy enough that the pain was distant, and he slipped back to sleep with the feel of a hand running through his hair. Chase even left the TV on.
Yes, Chase had slipped into his life like he could see all the spaces where House needed someone and all the places he didn't, and he had seamlessly, silently, oozed into all the dark, aching cracks, filling them up, just a little, making him a little more whole.
And, in the process, he'd done what Stacey had never managed to do, even with all her trying, all her effort; he'd slipped right into his soul.