a/n: This is for chasefest on livejournal, prompt 94. I'm not sure how many chapters this will be, but at least five.
Here is the prompt: House finally gets fed up with Wilson's and Cuddy's cavalier attitude about his pain and wants Chase to be his new doctor. I've been playing with this idea set post-"Top Secret", but after reading "ICU" ( last night, I'm thinking post-"No Reason" would be a good time too (great way to avoid an awkward conversation: no pain - no need for drugs - no need to explain to Wilson why he's not asking for refills). Story prompt: How would "Meaning"/"Cane and Able" and the Tritter arc have gone differently if Chase had been House's official physician at the time?
I have never been happy the way Cuddy and Wilson both dealt with House and his pain issues during that entire Tritter mess, so I took on this "what if?" scenario. It takes place immediately after Merry Little Christmas. In this fic, Chase refuses to enable, but he won't force House's hand either. No slash, but there is a physical exam in chapter two!
The stench of rotting pine needles waffled through the lobby, a blatant reminder of their bleak contribution to the usually dismal holiday season. Always happens between Christmas and New Years. Despite his miserable mood, a smell of decay played a small part in calming House. Without it, things didn't seem right.
"You're early," Cuddy said perplexed as House walked in unusually punctual. After summoning him, she was certain he would do everything in his power to delay his arrival. After all, that is what power struggles are all about.
He gave her a pitiful smirk and took a seat. Since Wilson sat solemnly on the couch opposite him, his suspicion as to why he was beckoned was confirmed. The fact that Wilson refused to make eye contact reinforced that he took the coward's way out of dealing with the problem. House ignored him, not wanting to be bothered with him today.
Cuddy pursed her lips in an annoyed frown and took her place behind the desk where a file sat open. House immediately recognized the department letterhead. Documents from the pharmacy.
"You've, gone too far." She wringed her hands in frustration, wishing there was a better way to put it, but she couldn't find it. House openly gazed at her with a piercing glare, saying nothing to defend himself.
"You're not going to deny it, make up some lie, attempt to weasel your way out of this or brush it off completely?" Cuddy's exasperated tone clued him in to how upset she was over this.
"Nope." House looked meekly at her, waiting to see what she would do next.
"You stole oxycodone from Wilson's dead patient and almost OD'd on it? You know how much easier my life would have been if that had happened?" She stopped herself from ranting further, remembering that no matter what she said it wouldn't do much good. "Suicide is so beyond you House."
"It wasn't a suicide attempt. I wanted the pain to go away."
"It never does though, does it?" She let out a deep breath to calm herself, making sure he next ultimatum was delivered with the right amount of authority. "Wilson can't help you anymore, so it's left up to me. As your doctor, I'm putting you on a medically supervised pain management program. You are required to follow the plan to the strictest detail. If you don't, you'll be fired."
"Oh, what an incentive," House deadpanned. "No, no, not my job. Whatever will I do?"
Cuddy wasn't about to let his sarcastic remark break her resolve. "That's not all. If you don't comply, Wilson and I turn will over all our evidence to the police that will assure your conviction and subsequent loss of license."
"No you won't." House said, calling her bluff. After a few seconds of staring Cuddy down, he saw her determined eyes, rigid posture, folded arms, and no signs of her backing down this time. He glimpsed over to a guilty Wilson, whose head was hung low, telling him that Wilson could likely follow through with the threat as well.
House backed away from Cuddy, dropped his head, and took time to mull over his options, bouncing the cane in a fast rhythm to jog his mind. He needed to come up with a way to get out of this. A tiny smile cracked on his face when something hit him.
"No. You've been my doctor too long, and I haven't gotten better. The pain has gotten worse, and all you do is insinuate that it's all in my head. I don't trust your treatment options will be in my best interest."
Cuddy wasn't buying this latest stunt. "You ARE going on a treatment plan, and you can't be your own doctor."
"I want another doctor."
Cuddy's eyes widened and she and Wilson shared a glance of surprise. "You actually would trust another doctor to handle your care?"
"No, but since you aren't giving me a choice, what else can I do?"
Cuddy paused to assess his proposal, watching him carefully. She suspected it was another one of his tricks, and couldn't let him do it without ground rules. "Okay, I'll agree with conditions."
"What sort of conditions?"
"The doctor you choose has to be on staff in this hospital. That person is required to give me frequent reports to your progress, and will take instructions from me, not you."
House nodded in full agreement. It was all part of the game. Give her an inch, let her feel in control.
Cuddy dropped her arms, softening her harsh stance. "Just let me know who you decide."
"Chase." House blurted.
Cuddy gasped in shock, while Wilson sat up in attention, giving him eye contact now. "You'd actually want to give a member of your team that type of control?" Wilson said.
"He's an Intensivist. Managing pain and discomfort is what he does best."
Wilson was too suspicious. He knew a House stunt when he saw one. "You can push him around."
Cuddy saw otherwise. "I don't know. All his staff are pretty scared right now about losing their license, so I think any of them would watch their steps carefully. None of them are willing to go down with you."
"Great," House replied, unenthusiastic but ready to get on with the plan.
Wilson, after running the idea quickly through his mind, began to warm up to the idea. "Wait, no this might be good. He's still got a fresh bruise on his face and a world of disillusionment. I don't think he'll give you what you want. If anything, he might want to make you suffer."
Cuddy watched House carefully to see if he would give up his motive. Nothing happened. "Chase does have the background and skill to deal with unique situations, and it doesn't get more unique than this. Are you sure you're willing to give him that type of access to your personal medical history?"
"No more than anyone else."
Cuddy slowly nodded, narrow eyes still glaring at him. "Okay, I'll allow it."
"Great, I'll let him know." House turned for the exit.
"No so fast," Cuddy said, stopping him cold. "I'll talk with him. As of right now, I'm temporarily his supervisor. All instructions are coming from me."
"Are we done?" House had enough of this time wasting conversation.
"Get out of here." House left quickly, not willing to experience any more wrath. Cuddy looked at Wilson with worry while letting out a deep breath. She leaned over and pressed the intercom on her phone.
"Yes Dr. Cuddy?" The voice asked on the other side.
"Tell Dr. Chase to come to my office."
Cameron and Foreman finally tracked House down. They had to know why Chase was taken away from the tests on their patient by a summons from Cuddy. They knew House was involved. Both found a curious House sitting outside of Cuddy's office, watching the action inside.
"What are you up to?" Cameron asked.
"What's Chase doing with Cuddy and Wilson, and why doesn't he look very happy?" Foreman asked, more interested in what House was watching than House himself.
"Is he in trouble?" Cameron asked with deep concern, eyes fixed now on the same scene that Foreman watched.
"Worried? Come on, he's the competition. Now that he's out of the way, your job gets easier."
"Wait a minute, what do you mean now that he's out of the way?" Foreman's voice tinged more with outrage than concern.
"Chase for the meantime doesn't work for me."
Cameron and Foreman looked exasperated. Before he could deal with their demanding questions, Chase stormed out of the office. He came up to House, looking down at him with a deep scowl. "Exam Room 3 in one hour."
"Yes doc," House said. Chase left, almost banging into a nurse during his brisk exit down the hall.
Cuddy and Wilson joined the group. "Would someone please tell us what's going on?" Cameron demanded.
"My office everyone," Cuddy ordered. "We have some changes to discuss."
The file from records was already waiting for him when he got there. Sure, a personal command from Cuddy was likely to spark such quick action, but he also suspected the clerk knew exactly where to find House's files. Given how thick and well maintained they were, they would be hard to miss.
The clerk did her best to avoid hysterical laughter when Chase arrived. It was already in the system that he was the new primary care physician. Her wide eyes wished him all the luck in the world.
Chase found a quiet place to get started, an empty office the size of a janitor's closet. No, a janitor got more space than that. It was a small desk crammed in between four walls. There was barely enough room for him to inch around it. It would do, for Cameron, or Foreman, or even House wouldn't think to track him down there.
He sat in front of the files, having no idea where to begin. The beginning seemed like the best place, but he found the notes really took off nine years ago. Other than a twisted knee, House had no other prior health problems before the infarction.
As he scanned through the mountains of treatment notes, Chase began to wonder why he was personally chosen for this task. Part of him didn't want to know, but that prodding problem solver in him needed to work it through. Cuddy told him House requested a new doctor and threw out his name without hesitation. That was the fun about House, while one would like to believe there was a reason behind everything he did, sometimes that reason was so deeply buried no one could figure it out.
Chase didn't believe that House thought he was the better doctor, and by now House had to think that he couldn't say no to him. Chase had absolutely nothing to gain by saying yes to House. He had nothing to gain by saying no either, which sandwiched him in the middle of a no win situation. Maybe that's why House picked him. One thing had always been certain, he was House's favorite target for torture.
Chase sunk his forehead into his hand and closed his eyes, hoping to calm his racing mind. Thinking in circles like this was only making matters worse. He was going to have to pretend he was seeing this patient for the first time and present an objective and creative plan. It was the only way he could treat him successfully.
"Why Chase?" The chill in Cameron's voice as she burst into House's office was a mixture of contempt and hurt. "Don't tell me he's pretty either, because he's not your type."
House reeled back when she said that. Damn, she took away his smart answer. "I don't need to give an explanation to someone whose poor wittle feelings are hurt."
"You're feeling guilty because you hit him."
"You're jealous because he solved the case."
"You know you can push him around and he'll give you anything you want."
"He's not an uptight bitch that will challenge everything I say, and he won't give me everything I want because he's not dumb. Stupid maybe, but dumb no. Good enough reasons for you?"
"This better not be some kind of joke. He deserves better."
House broke into an annoying laughter. "You don't give a rat's ass about his well being."
House laughed again. "Oh, it's the Allison Cameron double answer. Exactly who do you care about? If you must know, I don't need my hand held. I need a creative thinker, someone who isn't going to see my case as routine and boring or someone who will pity me. You think you and Foreman can do that?"
"I can think outside the box." Her arms were folded and a pout formed around her lips.
"You and Foreman quietly dance along the edges of the box, when you're pushed. Otherwise you're standing right in the center, where it's safe. Chase is never in the box, only glancing at it from outside questioning its relevance. You were the one screaming at Wilson a few days ago over what's best for me. Now that you don't get to be involved, all of a sudden it's not good enough?"
Cameron had enough of being berated. "You know, you're right. Creative options are best, because you can't stand to be properly fixed. You're only happy when you're broken." She stormed out of the office.
"Yeah, well it takes one to know one!" He shouted to her back.
"Chase!" Cameron shouted down the hall after finally spotting him coming out of the locker area. She ran up to him.
Chase rolled his eyes and waited for her to catch up. He knew she would track him down. He just hoped it could wait until tomorrow, or at least until after he had his initial consult with House. "I'm tired Cameron."
"Why did you accept this?"
"I wasn't exactly given much of a choice. Besides, despite my feelings, I'm likely the only one that can help him."
"No one can help him."
"You're probably right, but considering the Dean of Medicine and Head of Oncology failed and told me I had to do it, I'll be in good company should I fail."
"I can help you," she pleaded, before dropping her eyes, hoping not to seem too eager. "That is, if you want help."
"Thanks, but I better do this alone. There's a lot of legalities involved now and it could get messy. You don't want to be a part of it."
"I can recommend treatment options, if anything give you someone to bounce ideas off of."
Chase smiled, the greenish bruise on his jaw line hurting slightly by such a simple facial movement. He knew she was doing this because she was nosy and controlling, but he still liked the way she tried to manipulate. He found it endearing. "I'll keep that in mind." He headed on, needing to get to the exam room.
"I'll be around if you need anything."
Sure you will, Chase thought. Now that he was House's primary physician, Cameron would be all over him. Forget about House being the problem, he was going to get trouble from all sorts of places.