A/N: Hey guys! So… I finally managed to write the concluding third part of "House call". - After that horrible season finale I was almost unable to write any Wilson at all, so I hope this will work out somehow… Anyway: Hope you enjoy! :)
"68 year old woman, diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago." Chase entered Wilson's office reciting from a chart, therefore never quite making eye contact with the oncologist. His tone was casual, but something about his demeanor seemed a bit 'off'. "Cancer metastasized to one of the phalangettes in her right foot. Severe metastatic pain resulted, which has been treated with oxycodone for the past 4 months."
Frowning slightly, Wilson interrupted. "Uh… Are you talking about Mrs Gabinsky…?"
Chase continued as if he hadn't heard him. "Patient was brought into the ER by her daughter last week, because even maximum dosages of the narcotic weren't able to manage her continuously increasing pain level anymore. – A partial phalangectomy was conducted under local anesthesia as a palliative surgical measure on Wednesday, leading to almost complete pain relief."
Only now returning the other man's gaze, Chase slowly placed the chart on his desk.
Wilson's frown had in the meantime deepened exponentially. "Uh… Yeah, I know, Chase. You performed the surgery, because I asked you to."
Chase nodded, his expression unreadable. "Good call! Your decision helped reduce that woman's average daily pain level by 85 percent, thereby at least doubling her remaining quality of life."
"Chase." Wilson's tone was almost stern by now; he was eyeing the younger man intently. "Is there anything you're trying to say, other than we performed surgery on a cancer patient and it was very successful?"
Chase replied with a barely discernable nod. "When you asked me to do that procedure, you also asked me to do it as soon as possible. – I actually postponed a couple of other surgeries to get it done that same day. You know why I did that?" He didn't wait for Wilson to respond. "Because acute, unmanaged pain is a medical emergency. A top-priority situation! And of course you know that very well, and usually seem to accept that fact for your patients, or you wouldn't have asked me to do the procedure that urgently."
The look on Wilson's face was slowly but surely shifting to one of annoyance, his patience clearly wearing out. That didn't seem to stop the younger man though, who adopted an almost lecturing tone now.
"Pain is very bad. – And lying on your couch for more than 24 hours, unable to move, unable to get up, and being forced to pee into cups and vomit into trashcans, while your best friend thinks you're faking, is even worse!"
Stunned silence. The anger instantly left Wilson's face, which paled visibly at the other man's words. "What… – Are you talking about House?!" He was obviously completely dumbfounded. "How can you…"
Chase interrupted him. "He called me last night, because he'd run out of options at that point. When I arrived, he was at an 8 on the pain scale and hadn't moved or eaten all day. He was dehydrated, tachycardic and bleeding, because he'd cut himself in a desperate attempt to try and deal with his breakthrough pain!"
Wilson looked honestly shocked for a moment, before narrowing his eyes suspiciously. "Wait… Did he tell you to come here?"
Just a snort. "He'd probably cut my tongue out…" Then, more seriously: "He didn't send me. – This isn't a scam, Wilson."
Nodding slowly, the other man still didn't seem to be convinced. "Okay, so maybe he didn't send you. But he knew you'd tell me. – Are you sure he didn't just use you to – "
Chase got louder at that. "I'm an intensivist! – I recognize shock when I see it." He eyed the oncologist intently again. "He didn't fake it. – He let me clean away his vomit, for God's sake…"
Wilson slowly shook his head. "You can't honestly think it'd be beyond him to – "
"Wilson! This isn't a scam! – I know it's shocking, but he's not the one who screwed up this time…"
That finally seemed to get through to the other man, who looked defensive for all but a second, before stubbornly shaking his head again and replying with a slight shrug.
"I don't think I screwed up, Chase!" Tone surprisingly light. "If he hadn't been constantly messing with me and Amber the last couple of weeks, then maybe I could still take him seriously when he tells me something… I had no way of knowing that this, for once, wasn't tactical."
Chase's gaze remained hard on the other man, unwavering. "That's not an excuse, Wilson. You're his prescribing physician! It's your professional duty to not assume it's tactical when he asks for your medical help!"
Wilson raised both eyebrows in response, bravely returning the younger man's by now openly accusing gaze. "Well, sorry for also having a life, Chase! Which I'm right now trying to expand a bit…"
For a second, Chase looked as if he had been slapped in the face. Then he seemed to consciously control his expression again, before replying in a remarkably calm voice. "Listen. What's going on between you, House and Amber isn't really any of my business. – But as long as you're his prescribing physician, you can't just ignore him, when there's even a remote chance that he really is in trouble… - If you think that's too much to ask, you need to change something about the situation. Because leaving someone in pain like this… That's torture."
Wilson winced visibly at those words, before starting to rub the back of his neck, obviously uncomfortable. Then he slowly shook his head, eyes fixed on some point on the far wall.
"This would never have happened, if he wasn't so damn proud! If he'd just told me directly, seriously what was going on…"
Chase eyed him incredulously, his gaze softening a bit. "You've known him for what… 15 years?! – D'you really expect him to just come out and say: Hey, Wilson, I've got agonizing breakthrough pain, so I need you to come over and help me out here?!"
Silence. – Then, with another small shrug: "You're right. Maybe I really don't expect him to. Maybe he is actually unable to act like a normal person. – But I'm not to blame for his suffering then."
Chase replied with a clipped nod. "So, you're not to blame. – Feel any better now?!"
Wilson couldn't help but avert his gaze at that.
The younger doctor used the moment of silence to continue more softly: "He can't afford to put this kind of strain on his system, especially not on a more or less regular basis." He was eyeing the other man intently, willing him to understand.
Wilson slowly shook his head, now clearly shocked, at the new information or at his own behavior Chase couldn't tell…
"I… - What did you do?"
Chase calmly met his gaze. "IV morphine. Single dose. – He was doing better almost immediately and decided to switch back to the Vicodin a couple of hours later."
"I… - I don't know what to say, Chase. For once, I absolutely didn't read him right. I honestly thought he was just trying to yank my chain."
Chase nodded, once. "Yeah, well… I'm not the one who needs to hear this. - You should go talk to him."
With that he simply got up and made to leave the room. He stopped briefly when Wilson called after him. "Chase!" Turning around again, he found Wilson's brown eyes resting on him, trying to convey something he couldn't quite read. "Thanks for… helping him out."
"You've got a big mouth…!" Sticking his head through the door of the surgical lounge, House fixed Chase with a piercing gaze.
The younger man just shrugged, not even looking up from his crossword puzzle and sandwich. "He needed to know. And you wouldn't have told him."
House huffed out a breath. "Ever considered I might have my reasons for that?!"
Chase continued writing, but nodded in response, preparing to take another bite of his sandwich. "None of them good enough."
A brief moment of silence, before House continued in a semi-annoyed and definitely sarcastic tone: "But maybe you've heard of this new concept? Wait a minute… – I think it has something to do with a doctor, a patient, and confidentiality!"
Chase replied without hesitation. "You're not my patient, House."
"Oh? So you usually run around sticking needles laced with morphine in the arms of innocent people, who are not your patients?"
The younger man finally looked up to meet his gaze at that, face completely impassive. "On the other hand: Do you usually spend hours in front of the TV with random doctors?"
Clearly appreciating the witty comeback, House couldn't keep one corner of his mouth from quirking up slightly. "If they're oncologists: yes, I do! - But you've still got a point…"
Giving up on the idea of a peaceful lunch break for now, Chase got out of his chair to pour himself a large cup of coffee. He then lifted the coffee pot slightly into House's general direction, throwing the older man a questioning glance. When House just shook his head in response, he took his own cup and leaned back against the counter, eyeing his former boss pensively.
"So… You two talk?"
A glum look on his face, House finally entered the room fully, flopping down in one of the easy chairs. "Thanks to your thoughtful intervention: Yes!" Tone slightly accusing.
Carefully suppressing a small smile, Chase concentrated on keeping his tone impassive. "And… Were you able to work something out?"
House just shrugged slightly, picking up Chase's crossword puzzle and half-heartedly starting to scribble parts of the solution in.
"Didn't actually have to work so much this time. Didn't even get treated with one of his famous lectures… – Whatever it is you told him, you seem to have made a pretty convincing point."
Chase had no trouble identifying the relevant part of the sentence. "I didn't tell him much, House. Just enough for him to get an idea of the situation. – So, don't worry. You're reputation's still perfectly intact…" He smiled slightly, then took another sip of his coffee.
When House didn't reply anything, Chase came back to his earlier question. "So… Anything you're gonna change?"
House briefly met his gaze at that, replying after a very short moment of hesitation. "He wants me to write a pain diary for a while… Apparently, something has given him the idea that this hasn't been a one-time occurrence. - And I got a new toy. So I won't have to interrupt my ex-employees' cozy weekends anymore…"
Chase smirked slightly at that, before eyeing the other man pensively again. "Morphine derivative?"
A very small nod. "Hydromorphone."
Chase nodded slightly as well. "Good."
After a brief moment of silence, House carelessly flung the other man's magazine onto a nearby table and started to push himself to his feet. Chase couldn't help but notice that he was still moving more stiffly than usual, testing the stability of his leg before actually putting his weight on it again.
When he then turned to leave the room, Chase spontaneously called after him. "House."
The older man half turned around again, throwing him a questioning and slightly impatient glance.
Undeterred, Chase calmly returned his gaze. "I'm glad you were able to call me…"
House looked actually surprised for a split second, but then just shrugged in response. "Yeah, well… This thing called 'phone' does actually come in handy sometimes..."
Not what the other man had meant, and he knew it…
Chase replied with a nod and a small smile. "Whatever…" Then, confidently: "Wanna go out for a couple of drinks tonight?"
House raised both eyebrows at that, putting on his most appalled expression. "Why Dr Chase! Are you asking me out on a date?!" When he got nothing but an eye-roll and a slightly impatient look in response, he replied very shortly. "No."
Pushing the door open and stepping out into the corridor, House suddenly turned back around again. He just stared at Chase for a moment, before nodding at him somewhat challengingly. "How about bowling instead?"
Seemingly unfazed by House's earlier response, Chase just shrugged, actually looking pleased at the prospect. "Sure! That'd be fun..."
House confirmed the plan with a nod. "Come by my office around 7. - You drive." Then, with a slight smirk: "And no; it wouldn't."
The end (for real...) :)