Authors Note: I know I know. It's been forever since I have updated. Luckily though now I'm on spring break so I'm getting a chance to get back on track. Sorry it took me so long. But hopefully this chapter is as enjoyable as the others have been :-)
Over the next few days, Chase's resolve began to slowly crumble. After he had told House everything he could about what had happened during his college years, the older man had persuaded him to call the police to report the break in. It came as a surprise, mostly because he knew the two of them didn't have much faith in cops after the whole Tritter fiasco. Still, at the very least they would be able to see if his tormenter was actually who he thought by seeing if he had even gotten out of jail as of yet. Work went on as normal, or as normal as the young doctor could handle. He didn't take being left alone too well now though, and he was sure that Foreman and Cameron were beginning to suspect something was up, not that he would ever tell them.
Going home was now more like walking into the line of fire, and he never went home without Greg. For the first couple of nights he didn't bother leaving the hospital, grabbing up shifts in the NICU, however after the second night his lover called him on his actions and sternly told him it needed to stop. He was right of course, the lack of sleep combined with his limited food intake was leaving him tired and vulnerable, two things he could not afford to be as a doctor. He couldn't be blamed though, there were many reasons for him to not be left alone, which is why his actions now seemed so out of place.
"I think I'm going to head home," he announced as he waltzed into House's office. He watched as the other slowly looked up, his eyes watching him with their analytical gaze. "You know I still have things to do here..."
Chase nodded and smiled faintly, plopping down in one of the chairs. "I know, it's just that I'm tired, and I've still got dinner to make. Besides...it'll only be a few hours before you get back..."
"...Are you sure? As much as I love having my own personal chef, I wouldn't be apposed to picking something up. Or you could invite Wilson by, I'm sure he's got nothing better to do."
Still, the young blonde shook his head. He had to admit it was rather touching though. With everything going on, Chase had noticed more and more just how much this older man cared for him. "I don't want to bother him. And...I can't keep being scared to go home. I mean...we finally have this place that's ours and...I don't want to be petrified of it. The calls have stopped coming anyway..."
Greg sighed, but gave a quick nod, understanding his lover's reasoning. "I shouldn't be more than three hours max. Just...you know, call if you need anything."
"I will." He tossed a grateful smile House's way before leaning over for a quick kiss. One of the better things that had come from the current situation; House seemed to be more lenient when it came to public displays of affection, which was the only reason he hadn't just gotten smacked on the head.
The drive back to their home seemed longer than usual as he fought with his imagination. Every bad scenario that could possibly occur seemed to pop into his mind, only to be replaced by something even worse. It was a vicious cycle that sadly he could not seem to rid himself of, getting worse and worse until finally he pulled into the driveway. He sat there for a few minutes, trying to calm his racing heart and breath. "Nothing is going to happen," he told himself, fingers clenching the steering wheel. "Just get out of the car and go inside."
It took a few more minutes but finally, he did. Chase peeled his fingers from the wheel and got out of the car, taking achingly slow footsteps towards the front door, ignoring the hair that the harsh wind blew into his eyes. He fumbled in his pockets for the keys and quickly unlocked the door and went inside, shoving it closed behind him. As he leaned back against the door his eyes darted around the room, scanning the area for anything out of place. He found nothing wrong.
A small sigh escaped his lips as he placed his keys on the key hook next the door and took a deep breath. "Nothing out of the ordinary so far," he whispered to himself as he tried to calm down. "It was probably just some giant hoax, who knows. But it's over now so just let it go. You got over it before, and this isn't even close to being as bad as it was."
With similar thoughts flowing through his mind, Chase left the security of being close to the door and ventured further in the house. He glanced up the stairs, briefly mowing over the idea of going to his room but decided against it. After all, these things took time. Instead he dropped his backpack and coat onto the couch and flipped on the TV, surfing the channels until he decided on Emeril. Nothing could set the mood for cooking better than having Emeril in the background after all.
Steak was the dish of choice tonight. Something his lover greatly enjoyed but they didn't have very often. It was his hope that House would be pleasantly surprised. He figured after everything, a nice dinner for two was the least he could do. The other had helped him more than he thought possible, and that was something he would not soon forget. True, Chase had always known that despite popular belief House did have a heart somewhere, but the amount of compassion he had been shown within the past week left him amazed.
Smiling faintly, he pulled out the bowl containing the marinated steak and placed it on the counter. He turned on the oven before moving towards the freezer, searching for something to go with the meal. Normally one would think of vegetables and such, but the blonde knew better. Oh yes, House would prefer french fries over anything remotely healthy. Still, Chase found that he didn't complain whenever food was presented in front of him, so long as he made sure that the vegetables were accompanied by some kind of dessert. Though sometimes when he was lucky desert was something a bit less conventional.
Chase settled on rice and soup. Soup was healthy enough, and he could hide the taste of vitamins that seemed to make his lover's skin crawl. Once the meat was in the oven and the sides on the stove he leaned against the counter, watching the TV while pausing every few minutes to stir the soup. The delicious aroma soon began to filter through the kitchen and Chase smiled fondly, finally feeling at ease in his home.
A while later he glanced over at the clock, noting that it was getting late and House would be arriving soon. Walking across the room he picked up his cell phone and flipped it open to make a call, but was surprised to hear someone already on the line. "...Hello?"
"Honestly Robbie, did you really think I would just disappear?" a voice taunted, causing Chase's blood to run cold as he instantly paled. "I've waited years to get out of jail and see what happened to you. And don't even think about hanging up the phone...I'd get to you before you could finish dialing."
Although the other was still speaking Chase could not make out the words. His heart was pounding too loudly in his ears and his mind was busy racing for a solution. He reached for the phone but any hopes of calling for help were dashed by the silence that answered him rather than a dial tone. He could vaguely make out the sound of laughter filling his ear but he did his best to ignore it. What next, what now? He could try to make it to the car...If he got in the car he could just drive away. That had to be it. That's all he could think of.
"...But really? To leave me and end up with some old cripple? I thought you had better taste than that."
"Well,...I don't know what would make you think that," Chase said offhandedly, trying to grab his keys and keep looking around all at once. "After all, I ended up with you didn't I? Look how well that turned out." Telling himself to remain calm was a mantra playing in his head like a broken record. Not that it was really working. When he finally had his keys firmly in grasp he made his way to the door.
"Well, that hurts Robbie, it really does."
"The truth usually does," he replied, quietly opening the door. He had to be careful and quiet. Careful and quiet. No chance of getting caught right? Right. He could see the car, it was just a few feet away. He could make it. He'd make it to the car, drive away, and everything would be okay. But just as he went to make his move, his eyes stopped on the now slashed tires that were staring him in the face.
"Did you really think I'd lose you again that easily," came the taunt on the other line, prompting Chase to quickly close the door behind him.
With the door securely locked, the young doctor slide down the door until he was sitting, arms tugging a knew to his chest to rest his head. Blonde locks fell in front of his watering eyes as he tried to think of what to do. But nothing would come. He couldn't take the car with no tires. And he was being watched...the only question was from where. In the house? Outside the house? Did it really matter in the end?
When the first tear fell down his cheek Chase shook his head, rubbing at his eyes harshly to clear them of his weakness.
"Man...I never took you for a cryer. Then again you always were a bit sensitive weren't you?"
The only difference now was that the voice wasn't coming from the small received he held to his ear, and as Chase slowly raised his head he saw his tormentor, Ryan Cutler, leaning calmly against the staircase railing. Suddenly he forgot how to breath as he watched the man walking towards him. The reflecting of light hitting the kitchen knife he held didn't escape his notice either. Anything he had been thinking was gone and instinct kicked in as he quickly pulled himself up, slowly inching his way across the wall, away from the one who was approaching. "If by sensitive you mean not wanting to get beat up," he replied, his voice quivering slightly.
He received a glare for that, and suddenly Ryan was lunging at him, and he tried to move out of the way but arms wrapped around his legs and he fell backwards, his head slamming against the table. Pain seared through his head and for a few moments he was at a complete loss, dizzy and disoriented. His mind only came back to him when he felt something cold trailing down his chest, gently at first until he gasped as the knife tip pierced his skin, leaving a superficial cut down his chest.
"Come on Robbie. Deep down, did you really think I'd just disappear? After everything we've been through together?"
Chase tried desperately to ignore the pain in his head and now his chest and focus on coming up with an escape. His eyes flickered to the side, widening at the sight of the firepoker that lay precariously in front of the fireplace, just a couple feet away. And while Ryan was busy talking and looking for more places to cut Chase focused on trying with all his might to reach what he hoped would save him. Fingers inched closer and closer, clawing at the carpet each time he tried and failed to grasp the makeshift weapon. Just as he felt the knife against his skin once more he managed to grab the handle of the metal poker and without a second thought jabbed the blunt end into his attackers side, causing him to yell out.
With that small distraction Chase threw Ryan off of him, scrambling to try to get to his feet and ignore the wave of nausea he felt at the simple task. He slammed his eyes shut for just a moment to get his bearings straight, opening them just in time to see Ryan coming at him again. This time Chase managed to dodge him and swung the metal poker in his direction, however he had underestimated the man, and the next thing he knew Ryan's face was just inches from his, and pain shot through his body.
Green eyes widened in shock as reality started to fade around him. He never noticed the clang of the poker hitting the ground nor the knife's hasty retreat from his abdomen, readying for a second attack that never came. Tears pricked his eyes and his vision was blurring, air coming in short gasps. And suddenly the fingers that had been bruising his arms were gone and his legs gave out, though somehow he never hit the floor. Something was different, and so for a moment Chase tried to ignore his own pain and focus on what was happening. Then he heard someone calling to him.
"Chase!" The voice was so familiar... "Chase I need you to open your eyes for me okay?" He didn't even realize his eyes were closed. Then he felt fingers brushing against his cheeks. "The police are on their way with the ambulance...Chase please...Robbie..." All right. He could do that. Chase could do that one simple task couldn't he? Of course. So he tried to, urging his eyelids to move, though the sudden shooting pain surely help him.
As soon as he could see he was met with a pair of blue eyes that watched him with worry and fear. "Greg...," he said, his voice barely rising above a whisper.
"It's me. I'm right here," Greg answered, trying to keep his voice study as he gazed upon his bleeding angel. Blood had already seeped through the jacket he was using to put pressure on the stab wound, staining his fingers crimson. With each passing second he wanted to scream. Where the hell was the god damn ambulance anyway? But at the sight of his lover gazing up at him with such fear he held back. "You're gonna be fine okay?"
Chase struggled to offer a faint smile, though as he found it harder and harder to breathe he wasn't so sure House was right this time.