Chase hadn't planned it. He really, honestly hadn't; in fact, after the Vogler incident, he would have been surprised to end up keeping hisjob, let alone moving into House's apartment.
It had been a late-night assignment to run two blood cultures that had started it all; Cameron and Foreman had long since gone home, but he'd stayed, hoping to get in some more time in NICU. He both loved and hated working with the babies there; his heart broke anew every time one of those innocent little babies didn't make it, but there was nothing compared to the pure happiness of saving a child's life. A night's work in the NICU, making sure little ones stayed with their parents, never failed to give him a little hope as well.
He'd been at the microscopes, trying, as always, to see what House saw, know what House knew. House's mind absolutely fascinated him: sometimes he thought he knew how House thought, what he wanted, before House knew, but then House would pull something out of thin air that would leave him so confused.
The door had closed harshly behind him, and he'd jumped, flushing when he saw it was House. Normally, House would be smirking at him, eyes slightly narrow, voice low and hard.
But he wasn't. House's back was stiff, hands white on his cane, and his eyes were clear and bright, focused on Chase. He hadn't said a word.
"What?" Chase had finally mumbled reluctantly, waiting for the barb. There was none.
Instead, House had dropped his cane, limped forward, and kissed him.
Chase froze, and then let out a soft moan, and his mouth opened enough, apparently, for House to slip his tongue in, and things just progressed from there.
House wasn't about to have sex at the hospital – although Chase had a bad feeling he was working himself up to it – so Chase had gone home with House and…never really left.
House avoided having to talk about it by keeping Chase later than the others every night, and then telling Chase he could either ride with House or take the bus.
Taking the bus meant going home, riding with House meant House's apartment for another night.
He doesn't know exactly when he started bringing a change of clothes in his bag, or when his grocery list changed from things his apartment needed to things House'sapartment needed, but he didn't really notice.
At least until, one Thursday he wasn't feeling well and went home early, he realized that his closet was almost empty and all of his comfortable pajamas were at House's.
So, Chase did the bravest thing he'd ever done: packed up what little he wanted to take that hadn't already made its way to House's – the furniture would be sold later – and showed up at House's doorstep, flush from a fever and flashing his best "Love Me" eyes.
Chase's stuff went in the back of House's closet, and that was that.
Chase was good at sliding into people's lives unobtrusively – growing up, if he wanted time with his father at all, he'd have to work around his father's schedule, his wants and needs. It was the same with his mother.
So when House's cupboards were empty, Chase shopped. The first few times, he paid for it himself, but then he started finding money tucked away on the counter, the same amount Chase spent every week on groceries, so he used it.
It was easy to work Wilson in, as well; Chase was a little shy around him at first, conscious of how big a presence Wilson was in House's life. The M&M incident had really broken the ice in the beginning, and after that it was easy to set an extra plate, add the extra set of sheets to the laundry, make an extra sandwich for lunch sometimes.
That was about the time the candy started showing up, he realized. Little stashes tucked away everywhere that never seemed to run out. Chase smiled, said nothing, and if he cuddled up to House while he munched sometimes House didn't make too big a deal out of it.
He always had fresh pens as well, and sometimes House would even be nicewhen he helped Chase with the crossword puzzles.
It figured that everyone found out on their own, since that was just the way Chase's life worked. Wilson was the first, of course, and they didn't even really bother to try and hide it; Chase kind of figured Wilson may even have gotten regular updates on their sex life anyway.
Cameron figured it out next. He wasn't sure howshe did, since she was usually oblivious to things, but she must have noticed something. He could tell because of how tight her lips got whenever House got within two feet of him, how her hands clenched when House smirked at him, how her voice was hard when it hadn't been before.
Cameron knew, and she didn't like it.
It must have been her who told Foreman. Foreman probably would have never figured it out, because as long as Chase wasn't getting special treatment, he wouldn't have cared anyway. Chase didn't want to deal with any smart little comments though, so a quick offer to let Foreman watch made the man flush and refuse to speak of it ever again.
Surprisingly, Cuddy was the easiest to deal with, after Wilson. She was smart enough to pick and choose her battles, and she knew right away that trying to get House not to screw Chase on a regular basis would be pointless.
So she used it to her advantage instead – one wrong movie with Chase, and he'd pay for it at the hospital. It was fun, watching the two of them struggle over power, because it meant House went home hot and bothered a lot, and Chase had no complains about that.
Moving in with House wasn't what he expected it to be. He expected a lot of fights, a lot of nights of no talking, a lot of tense silences at work.
But Chase had always been good at sliding into empty spaces, and House had a Chase-size hole that he filled perfectly.
A/N: I finished it, guys! What do you think? I'm so sorry it took so long, but I had to get this one exactly right, it was too important. I hope it was worth the wait, and every single one of you is so wonderful for reading and waiting so patiently.