By: Oldach's Dream
Summary: In the aftermath of a tragedy, a decision must be made. Set in season three, after, but not linked to, the Tritter arc. Only pairing is a very slight Cameron/Chase.
Timeline: After Tritter but before Foreman resigns - no specific episode is needed as a springboard.
Disclaimer: I just mess with them.
A/N: I just got my computer back after a month of it being in repair and found this in a folder. I had completely forgotten about it and now honestly can't remember when or why I wrote it. I'm posting it because I hate things sitting on my desktop and going to waste. Please let me know what you think. This will be a multi-chapter story.
All the King's Men
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.
Dr. Robert Chase didn't consider himself an easily-angered person. In some people this would have just been tossed aside as a generalization of character, the way some people had short tempers and others had a few too many pet peeves; not exactly enjoyable to work around, but for the most part, simply discarded.
Chase, however, had spent the majority of his adolescence and young adult life fighting off great, sometimes overpowering, waves of anger. Of fury, even. He'd been furious at his father for abandoning him, for leaving such a huge responsibility on his gangly, not yet fully broadened shoulders.
He'd hated his mother. For not being stronger, for not being able to handle her own problems without aid of alcohol. Mostly, though, for years, he'd hated himself. For agreeing to stay with her, for not forging a life of his own when he'd had the chance.
He turned his anger to God when even He'd not been able to quell the rage that never ceased growing inside him. He'd left the seminary because of that anger. That, at least, he did not regret.
Only coming to America, removing himself from everything he'd ever known, had even started to chisel away some of those pent up emotions. The rest he'd had to work long and hard for.
So when Dr. Robert Chase declares that he's a generally laidback individual, it's not just an overview of his personality, its something he's strived for. It's something he's struggled brutally for since he began practicing medicine, even more so since he started working for House.
And while his boss had no idea, the older man had helped quell even more of that anger. The rage that bubbled beneath the surface was even less palpable since he'd begun this fellowship. Reason and logic were what House taught him primarily, and that helped with the emotions he still felt but no longer gave into. And Chase was forever grateful.
What he was feeling right at this very moment, though, it contradicted the two sides of what he knew to be true. He knew that anger solved nothing, that expressing rage would only make him feel relieved for a short measure of time. Whatever was infuriating him would not go away simply because he unleashed his anger.
Only now he had House's voice in his head, too. Telling him that everyone responds to emotional triggers and logic often takes a backseat to that; but, if you managed to take control, to act appropriately and accordingly to what was going on, well, then you could be a successful doctor.
Only right now, fury was the correct response. Anger was the logical reaction. He had Lisa Cuddy screaming at him in a crowded hospital hallway, sounding one step away from hysteria. The death grip James Wilson had on her left arm was doing nothing to calm her.
"What the hell is going on?!" She shouted again. Her hair was rumbled and unprofessional, like she'd just rolled out of bed, and her clothes matched - jeans and a T-shirt were not appropriate hospital attire. Not unless you were House.
"I have an emergency." He responded, repeating himself, tilting his head away from the two sets of worried, fearful, desperately pleading eyes. He tried to make his escape. "I have to go."
But Cuddy was having none of that. "No!" She screeched. "You have to tell me what's going on! I get a call at two-thirty in the morning saying that three of my doctors are hurt, one's in critical care - I think I have a right to know what happened."
"The police can inform you." He tried again. His anger was starting to bubble over.
"No!" She shouted, drawing the attention of said police officers. "You can inform me! I'm your boss and I demand-"
And Dr. Robert Chase cracked. "NO!" He flung out his arms, as if physically releasing his fury in waves. "House is my boss! House is the one who was actually here to do something productive tonight! If it wasn't for him you wouldn't have three injured doctors, you'd have four DEAD ones!"
Wilson tried to intervene this time, not noting the shock on Cuddy's face. "What-"
But Chase wasn't even close to finished. "I'm sorry, but did it escape your attention that House got shot last year?! Did that not clue you in that maybe security around here isn't as tight as it could be?! You sit in your office and make all these big corporate decisions, who to wrangle money out of and what lawyers to hire. But you can't make a five minute phone call to boost our security system!"
Cuddy had withdrawn, all her own anger seemed to be gone. "Chase-" But the young Intensivist was still seeing red.
"I know you don't like House that much, but I didn't think you actually wanted him dead!"
"Now, wait a second," Wilson interrupted, and only got so many words out because Chase had to stop and take a breath, "Cuddy doesn't-"
"What?! What?" He shouted, not entirely sure what he was asking. "You know House! You both do. He pisses more people off than any other member of the hospital staff combined, and he has the most unpredictable patients. Our team, has the most unpredictable, emotionally unstable patients, and it never occurs to you - to either of you - that that might require a little extra security?!" His accent was so thick at this point; he wouldn't be surprised if they'd stopped understanding him.
They didn't try to talk again, just stared. Emotions from fear to guilt to anger passing over their features in quick bursts.
"House is my boss!" He shouted again. "At least House isn't completely oblivious to the reality of the world! You all call him jaded and untrusting! Well Guess what?! He should be untrusting! People suck! At least he doesn't turn a blind eye to the dangers of human nature!"
He was going to say more. He had so much more to drive home, but his pager - in typical doctor fashion - picked that moment to go off, reminding him that there was more going on tonight than just the reawakening of his long buried temper.
Without another glance to the Dean of Medicine or the Head of Oncology, Chase turned on his heel and walked the long corridor back to the stairwell, not wanting stop for the elevator in front of those people.
When House was waiting for him around the first corner he turned, he wasn't exactly sure why he was surprised, or even startled.
He was though, and he stepped back accordingly as he halted. "Hi." Was the first nervous word to leave his mouth. While his anger was still there and pulsating, he was logical enough to know that absolutely none of it could be fairly pointed at House.
Also, now that that small bit had been drained from his system, he could successfully bottle the rest to take out on his punching bag later.
The elder man just inclined his head slightly, with his left arm still wrapped protectively around his torso; it was hard for Chase not to recall the stitches he himself had given his boss not two hours ago.
"Heard you back there." He said typically, bluntly.
"Oh." monosyllabic was a good fallback.
"You yelled at Cuddy." And if Chase didn't know any better, he would have said there was a ghost of a smirk on his face.
"Yeah." He admitted. Obviously it would be dumb to try and deny it. "Wilson too."
"Impressive." Was all he said, and Chase wasn't quite sure if that was a subtle compliment or a subtle insult. Knowing House, he'd vote for the first, but the man's expression and tone gave away nothing.
Moments later, he reverted back into professional doctor mode. "Foreman's prepped for surgery. I didn't know if you wanted to be part of it or not." Simultaneously they began walking towards the end of the hallway, past the staircase and to the second set of elevators on this floor. House was walking slower than normal. On a good day, even with the limp, he could out-stride all three of his fellows. Today, Chase had to consciously slow his steps to match the taller man's.
"How's Cameron?" He asked in lieu of actually answering House's inquiry. He cared about Foreman on some level as a colleague, maybe even as a friend, but if he had to choose, it would be no contest.
House - being House - knew this. "Stable." He answered, pressing the elevator button with his thumb instead of his cane as he normally did, so as not to redistribute his weight. "Still unconscious, but that's normal, taking into account the high-dose sedative the ER gave her. She'll be out for another few hours."
"And her injuries?" Chase needs the confirmation from House just as a young child needs to hear from his father that there are no monsters under the bed or in the closet. Logically, he can predict the answer. Emotionally, he's drained from the last three or four hours, his building and pouring rage a few minutes prior.
"Same." House grunts, acutely aware of why Chase is asking the seemingly repetitive question, and obviously sympathetic, as he doesn't mock him one bit. "Broken arm, broken ankle, fractured cheek bone, cuts and bruises. That's it."
That's it. Sounds like a lot, Chase thinks as the elevator takes them to the third floor. But it could have been worse. Colossally worse.
"Right." He nods. "Do you want me participating in Foreman's surgery?"
Once the question is out, he's not sure why he's asked. Obviously House had left that decision up to him, it was the whole basis for his appearance in the hallway, the reason he'd heard Chase's long, loud rant. But Chase is torn now, between wanting to make the choice on his own and needing to leave it up to someone else. Someone he trusted.
"I think it's a good idea." The Diagnostician finally admits as the elevator doors ding and open. "I don't want the surgeons screwing up or taking shortcuts. I'm not in the mood to hire a new Neurologist."
"Alright." Chase nods, glad that House had told him what to do. Glad that it had correlated with what he wanted to do, and with what he knew was the right thing to do. After the turbulence of tonight, it was comforting to know that things were currently running as smoothly as they could be. "I'll go now."
So he went, walking fast down the hall towards the OR, and he didn't look back. He focused his thoughts on medical procedures and the cool, calculating movements that went into such operations.
He was caught up in all that, so glad to have a focus, a goal, that he was gone before he could see his boss lean heavily against the wall where he'd left him. He missed House's deep grunt of pain.