Disclaimer: If I own House, let me know. / Such a pilgrimage were sweet. / But do not, I would not go / Since John Donne's about to rise up from his grave to kill me for butchering his Song, a reference you probably didn't need to know.
Notes: Mild spoilers for the third season's fourteenth and fifteenth episodes, mild Chase/Cameron, possible mentions of House/Cameron and House/Cuddy.
They go out for drinks, afterwards. They need it -- hell, they deserve it -- though after the fifth glass, Chase can no longer quite remember why.
Cameron's quite a good drunk, he notes gloomily out of the edge of his hazy eye, crossing off another fantasy as a lost cause. She's speaking clearly and precisely, and if her voice is a little sharper and louder than it usually is, he'll tie it to the drinks, ignore how her hands shake even as she throws them down against the table.
"...it's just that he lied to us," she says. Her palms are upturned, and she stares at them as if she might divine secrets from the lines.
Foreman snorts; the bottle shudders in his hand as he pours, but doesn't spill. When it's full, he thumps it down, hisses between his teeth, and downs a shot at once. "Everybody lies," he quotes and leans away, throwing a casual arm over the back of his chair.
It's probably not as much House's un-death that bothers him as much as the fact that he's poured so many hours down a useless drain. Foreman, Chase thinks, tries too hard to be practical and sarcastic. Not that they don't all. It's what House has done to them -- infected them like some resistant strain of cynical bacteria, and still he can surprise them. It's a bastard -- but then, so is House.
They shouldn't be surprised, but they are, all the same.
Cameron's eyes are slippery with brightness. She licks her lips once, twice, before she speaks. "Yeah," she says, "but nothing like--"
"Come on," Foreman scoffs. "He's done this to us a million times! We should have known. It's just the kind of thing an addict--"
Foreman glances over at him and raises an eyebrow. "What, now you're going to start saying he's not an addict either? After what we just saw?"
"No," Chase answers, with dignity, panache, and heavy patience -- or what passes for it after several shots of alcohol. He lifts another glass, examining the slant of light through liquid: lucent and stinging. "I just don't want to hear about House's addictions, all right? It puts off my drinking." Light catches, flares: the wine looks nearly like blood. He thinks of those vials back at the hospital -- Luke N. bloody Laura -- grimaces, and tosses back a shot himself. "Anyway, if you were expecting it, what're you doing here with us, then?"
Foreman shakes his head, still slumped. "House is an ass," he says quietly.
"Maybe," says Cameron, but the word slips half-heartedly from her mouth. Her fingers curl and uncurl; two other thumbs circle the rims of two ornate glasses. Chase blinks, scrubs the back of his hand across his eyes. "Maybe it just--"
"We should tell Cuddy."
The bar hits a sudden streak of silence, crowded with the gentle clinking of empty bottles.
"You know," says Chase at length, "there are easier ways to suicide than to rat House out to Cuddy." A look strays to the bottle at his right hand, invitingly half-full. "Alcohol poisoning, for one."
"Sure," Foreman says, and laughs a little; his eyes are steadier than inebriation should allow. "You should know."
Chase makes a face. "It wasn't me this time," he bites out. "So can you get the stick out of your arse and piss off. It's not my fault House was trying to fake cancer so that you couldn't save him."
"Hey, I'm not the one with the Messiah complex, all right?" Foreman jabs a thumb at Cameron; his sudden elbow against the table rattles the glasses. "That's your girlfriend's job--"
"--not my girlfriend," Chase answers automatically. He exchanges a bemused glance with Cameron as the echo dies from the air.
Foreman makes a noise of disbelief. "The two of you are like a twin routine," he tells them, pushing back his chair.
"Yeah, I'll keep the circus in mind if you get us fired for telling Cuddy," Cameron says and rolls her eyes expressively; they are exceedingly lovely, although Chase isn't really all that interested in her eyes.
Foreman sighs and stands, slinging his coat over one arm. "I won't tell Cuddy, all right?" he says. "Besides, she probably already knows."
"What," says Chase, "you think she's got some kind of elaborate spy system through the hospital or..." He fumbles for some even more creative conspiracy theory -- something to impress Cameron, who's presently staring off into the distance, finger still circling -- and, failing that, to amuse her. He does fail, and substitutes: "Or... something?"
"It's House," Foreman says, tilting his head to a side. "She knows."
"Right," says Cameron. "She knows House; ergo, she must know. Of course! All women are obviously psychic. That's how they spot all those secrets you never want to have told and expose them to the world."
"She knows," Foreman repeats, certain and firm, a neurologist pronouncing a condition of the brain.
Chase laughs. The colors in the world mingle and snap with a lucid brightness that is nearly painful, and there's the beginning of a jarring edge to the pulsing inside his head as he speaks. "Twenty says she doesn't."
"You're on," says Foreman, flashes a small grin, and leaves.
"That was dumb," Cameron says once he's out -- of earshot or the door, Chase doesn't bother to check. "Cuddy probably does know. She knows a lot more than we usually do when it comes to House."
Chase looks at her in mild annoyance, but alcohol's still fuzzy at the edges of everything, so he doesn't mind as much as he should. "You could have said something before he took the deal."
She shrugs. He watches the movements of something slightly lower than her shoulders.
"What," says Chase, half-cocky, wine like electricity in his veins. "Still in love with House?"
"No!" she snaps, then recovers, and he tries not to think of the fact that she answered nearly before the words were out of his mouth - a classic sign of something else he doesn't want to think about. "I just... didn't think he'd lie that much."
"Or you just didn't want him to."
She smiles a small smile, and there's nothing happy about it in the least. "Probably," she says, in a louder, stronger voice -- trying to be sensible, and the effort is so obvious that it makes him smile, too.
"Well," Chase says, gathering himself in dignified measures. "I realise I'm not... old... or unshaven... or dying..." He leans in. "But you've still got me to look forward to, if that's any comfort."
He feels the rush of breath at his cheek, the sudden stirring laugh that rings hard in his ears as the beginnings of a hangover edges in, but she kisses him anyway, so he lets himself forget.
Feedback: is celebrated with glee ill-befitting even small children. Bring it on.