A/N: This is the absolute last chapter! Aren't you excited????
BTW, sorry about the intense wait. I'm in college and they can't seem to figure out that we all like a working internet connection. I get connection in one spot, and just barely long enough to reply to an e-mail. Bummer.
Foreman stared at the dense foliage surrounding the house. Somewhere, in those dense woods, Chase was running. As he ran, he would get farther and farther away from people who could help him. And he was obviously hurt.
He stuffed one more bottle of water into his pack. He was the only one on the team allowed into the search party. He looked at House.
"We'll find him. I promise." He said. House didn't answer. No sarcasm, no wit, nothing. "House? He's out there. We'll find him." Foreman repeated.
"I know." House looked down at his cane. He thumped it slightly on the ground.
"I'm sorry you can't go with."
"I'm over it." The walls went back up. House limped away.
Foreman sighed. He looked at the dog who was helping. Zoe was a large dog, part sheepdog, part other stuff. She was jumping around, excited to get out. Foreman slung his backpack on, and began the walk into the woods.
There were intermittent blood drops along leaves and wood for about a mile. While Foreman couldn't see them, Zoe didn't have to. Her innate doggie sense of smell drew her along.
Foreman stared back for a moment, now following Zoe, and not himself.
House stared in horror at the photographs Nadia was producing from her crime kit. The pictures of Chase depicted him in various forms of fear and torment. Some of the photos appeared to have been taken from a video. Others were just stills that had been made while Chase was sleeping.
Cameron ran off crying. Wilson went after her. Cuddy stared in shock. House examined the photos.
"He's obsessed. Look at this. These photos are almost sexual! Like he's getting off on Chase's fear!" House could feel his voice rising as he spoke.
"Yah. I know. Is pattern I see too." Nadia said, putting the photographs away.
"But Chase escaped."
"Which means the stalker wasn't particularly careful."
"Or that he wanted to make Chase run, and then recapture him."
"Is also possible."
"You're not going to make a conclusion, are you?"
"I do not have enough evidence to make conclusion."
"Peachy." House replied sarcastically.
The blood drops came in patterns. Sometimes they were in great numbers, other times, they seemed to come only once in a while. One time, they seemed to discover a spot where Chase had used scraps of his lab coat to bandage his cuts. Foreman could seldom see the blood. Zoe on the other hand…
"Thank goodness for dogs." Foreman muttered.
"Gotta love that nose. Although, I sometimes wonder about it." Said one of the rescue workers with a smile.
"Sounds like a river up ahead." Foreman changed the subject. On the bank of the river, there appeared to be a spot where the ground was ripped away by some object. There was an identical mark on the opposite bank.
"Maybe he tried to cross on a log, and it fell in." Another worker commented.
"So, let's follow the trail downstream." Foreman turned, and began to walk.
About a half mile later, Zoe began to bark like mad. She bolted, and Foreman ran after her.
"Zoe! Zoe come here!" He stopped short when he saw her standing over a white garment. Chase's lab coat was snagged on a root. Foreman tugged it free. Zoe whimpered.
In his mind, Foreman could picture Chase struggling out of his lab coat as it snagged, and held him under. It meant something. Foreman motioned to the other rescue workers, and continued onward.
A mile further down, Zoe began barking again. Foreman looked up. There was a small, frightened, blond figure hugging his knees on the opposite bank.
"Chase!" Foreman called. The figure looked up.
"Foreman? Is that you?" Foreman could only just hear the feeble cry. He wanted to cry himself.
House jumped as the radio crackled with Foreman's voice.
"Foreman to base. Foreman to base. Come in base." House grabbed the walkie talkie.
"This is base. Come in Foreman. We're reading you."
"House, we have him! He's safe!"
On the other end of the line, Foreman could hear the most incredible whoop.
It had been a bit of a job retrieving Chase from the opposite bank.
One of the rescue workers had discovered a nearby waterfall they could cross behind. Then, after the climb back up the hill, Foreman had to walk all the way back to examine Chase's injuries. The list was startlingly long.
Chase had wrapped his hands in torn cloth from his lab coat. He appeared to have sliced them on either broken glass, or on the plywood he'd torn from the window. His left eye and cheek were swollen, he had a good sized bump on his head, and he was running a fever. Foreman sighed as he picked Chase up and began carrying him piggyback down the hill.
Chase promptly fell asleep.
House stared at the sleeping young man in the hospital bed. Chase's hands were heavily bandaged, and he was being pumped full of antibiotics.
The unsanitary conditions he'd been in had caused his hands to become infected shortly after he'd hurt them. The infection caused a fever. The fever made Chase very tired.
House gazed down at him again. He needed to wake him so the police could take his statement. He sighed.
Chase would go through hell again in a few weeks when the trial started. He'd been through enough. House would let him sleep.
Before he left Chase to his dreams, House glanced at the room phone. He thought about the kind of damage such an item could cause. He frowned.
House limped over, and unplugged the phone.
A/N: So! What did you think?
I would also appreciate your feedback on Nadia. I'm tempted to use her in another story – that won't involve the guys (Ooo. Now I have your attention). Should I pursue it? How good of a character is she? Should I even attempt to keep her? Give me your feedback. Just push the little button that says "submit review".