Chapter Five

~Seems to me, you don't wanna talk about it. Seems to me, you just turn your pretty head and walk away~ "Walk Away by The James Gang"

Chase never thought he'll be so happy to see his apartment building. He was glad to be home, he manage to be release from the hospital before the regular eight o'clock shift. He did not want to run into Cameron and Foreman, most of all, he did not want to run into House. He was in no mood for mind games and in no mood for a constant battle between the two of them. He just wanted to curl up on his purple couch, with his hot chocolate and watch a movie or something. Maybe James Bond.

His legs ache as he climbed up the stairwell heading towards his door. As he slipped into his apartment, he dropped his messenger bag onto the floor and made a beeline for the kitchen. Reaching into his cupboard, he grabbed a silver pot and his hot cocoa mix. He groaned as he went to lift his left arm. Stupid him, it was still in a sling. A shot of pain went through him and he considered grabbing his pain medication but decided against it. He went to grab a coffee mug when he heard something from his room.

It sounded like someone was playing his piano. He placed the mug on the counter and walked towards his bedroom doors. They were closed but the curtains moved against the breeze behind the door. Someone must have the window open. With each step, the notes became clear and Chase knew what the piece was. Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. He opened the door and the music stopped. Chase groaned as he saw who was there.

"House? What are you doing here?" He was angry at the fact that House had betrayed his privacy, no one was allowed on that piano but him. It was his own private comfort place.

The older man turned on the piano bench with an innocent look, "What? Can't a man express his gratitude?"

Chase ran his right hand through his dirty blonde hair, "Don't you have to be at work or something?"

"Nope. No case. Solved it yesterday." House used his cane to push himself up from the piano bench. "Nice piano, very old and classic. You must have had it for a long time."

"Yah, Christy has been with me for almost fifteen years."

"You named your piano? Must be a very serious relationship. Are you all talk? Or can you really play?"

Chase growled and strolled past House, sitting himself on the bench. Lifting his right hand, he began playing some notes. House listened, somehow expecting Chopsticks as most people play when they find a piano, and heard half the notes of one of his favorite piece. He smiled at the blonde who had closed his eyes and moved against the music. Halfway, Chase stopped and stared at the keys, "I taught myself how to play. My father thought I was wasting my time with doofer stuff and forced me to play the violin. Heh…as an act of rebellious, I snapped it in half during practice. He was not pleased…" Chase trailed off as he glanced up at House, not knowing why he was telling the older man this.

He cleared his throat and got up heading back towards the kitchen, "I'm making some hot cocoa, want some?"

He heard the tapping of the cane following after him and assumed that was his answer. He grabbed another mug from the cupboard and grabbed his pot placing it into the sink. He used his hand turning on the water. House watched as Chase struggled with one hand to bring the pot over the stove. He hated how his guilt and his leg pain were tied together. Wincing at the growing pain, House limped over to the table and pulled himself a chair. Chase turned the stove on and took a seat next to House. Both men sat in silent staring at the pot.

"You are taking this rather well." House stated, he almost laughed as Chase turned his head to glare at him.

"I figured it's easier to accept your annoying presence than to fight it. We're both in the same situation; we both have no idea why I saved your dumb ass."

"Tell me about the relationship with your father."

Chase widened his eyes, "What? You expect me to pour out my life story to you?"

"Yah, good point." House twirled his cane, "We'll save that for later. We'll start easy for now…let's see…"

"Easy…." Chase let out a hard laugh, "For now?"

House ignored him, "Ah, who are those two mates with you in the picture in your room?"

Chase stopped. What right did House have to come barging into his domain and threaten to break through the wall that he had structured all his life. Who did House think that he would answer every question that came out of his fowl mouth….who did…Chase paused as an idea popped into his head. He almost smirked.

"I'll make you a deal." Chase got up and grabbed the boiling water, lifting the pot and pouring into the two mugs, "I'll answer your questions, only if you answer my questions first."

House shifted in his seat, he suddenly did not like the change in Chase. Why did he have to grow a backbone now, sure the kid always had one, but damn why did the Australian always have to pick his battles? He watched as Chase put the cocoa mix in the drinks, stirring it up.

"Why should I take the deal?"

Chase looked at him and grabbed one mug setting it on the table next to House. He grabbed his from the counter and walked over to his seat, "Because, it's the only way you can get to your answer."

House stared at him, raising a brow as Chase raise his cup in a toasting mood, "So, House, do we have an accord?"

Fine, two can play that game. House raised his own mug and tapped it against Chase's, "Agreed." Both took a sip out of their mug. House set the glass down, "Now then, I'll answer your first question: No, Wilson and I never slept together, I only spread those rumors just to spite him."

Chase smiled and shook his head. He had a question and he knew House was never going to answer it. He had a question that will have House leave him alone and never to bother him again. House groaned inwardly, he could see the mischievous look in the younger man's eyes.

"My first question: why do you hate your father?"

House felt as if someone punched him in the gut. He couldn't answer that question, it was personal, no one knows, not even Wilson knows the whole story.

"That's a stupid question; I'm not going to answer it."

Chase shrugged, "Than I'm not going to answer any of yours. Once you answer that question, I'll tell you who the person in the picture is."

"Well, I really don't care about the person in the picture. I demand to change my question."

House didn't like that Chase laughed, "You can change the question all you want, and I'm not answering them until you answer yours."

They both almost jumped as House's pager went off. He grabbed it and looked at it, "Those pathetic ducklings can't even handle the case without me."

"Thought you said you solved it?"

House waved his hands, "I lied." He used the cane to help prop himself up, he headed towards the door and glanced back at Chase, "Stupid game anyway."

Chase frowned as House left, for some reason he was expecting to feel satisfied that he beat House at his own game, that House will now let him be. Instead he felt disappointed.

"Where Chase?" were the first words out of Cameron's mouth as House came barging through the diagnosis conference room. She was sitting at the table with the patient's files spread out around her in an orderly fashion.

House grabbed the Vicodin from his pocket and popped three into his pop, dry-swallowing it. He ignored her question and headed towards the white board, "What happened with the patient?"

"You think we wouldn't find out?" Cameron pushed away from the table, "Half the hospital knows, you know how the nurses gossip!"

Foreman, who had been quiet before, spoke up, "We did have the right to know. We do work with the guy."

Cameron came into his face, "Is it true? He saved your life? He took a bullet for you? How could you not tell us?"

"Because Chase doesn't need you trying to fix him!" House snapped. Cameron's jaw snapped shut so loudly that House swore she could have broken some teeth. "He doesn't need fake pity from his co-workers; he doesn't need people poking him asking him if he was crazy or nuts for saving me! Now tell me, what happened to our patient!"

Cameron was silent. She slowly backed into her chair that House thought she would have started to cry right there but adverted her eyes and glanced at Foreman.

Foreman sighed, "He's not responding to the treatment, and earlier this morning his urine was red."

House grabbed the marker, "His kidneys are failing, that doesn't fit in with the regular symptoms. Why isn't he responding?"

"According to the nurse's reports, his levels and stats were getting better last night but he took a turn for worse this morning." Foreman flipped through the notes, rubbing his forehead. This case was annoying him, how come he couldn't figure it out. He glanced at Cameron who seemed to be still in a daze after House's outburst, not that she didn't deserve it. It wasn't his area to go around prodding in Chase's personal life, when he sees him; he'll congratulate him for saving him from looking for another job. Guess he took the ass-kisser a little too far there Foreman thought. He heard House say something and he glanced as his boss, "What?"

"Did he have any visitors?"

"Uh," Foreman went through the notes.

"His wife came to visit him around six this morning before work. She was here for a half hour before she left." Cameron was coming out of her daze, getting back onto the case at hand.

"Before or after he got worse?" House was starting to get impatient and Foreman worked with the man long enough to know that he was close to the answer, that soon he was going to solve this. He hoped he could make sense of this and beat his boss to it.

Cameron tilted her head in confusion, "Before…look what does…"

"The tea!" House slammed his cane down in exclamation, "How could I miss it! It was right there all along!"

"What about the tea?" Foreman was still confused.

"She brewed a special tea for her husband, she said she made it for him all the time, it was his favorite." House paused staring at his ducklings hoping it'll hit them. Chase would have had the answer by now! Instead they just stared at him, waiting for him to continue.

"She's poisoning him! He only gets worse after her visits!"

"What?" Cameron shook her head and House knew she was battling against her human morals.
"That's not possible…I saw her…she was devastated!"

"Probably because the bastard wasn't dead yet and that she wasn't getting her money quick enough." House waved her on-coming babblings away, "Foreman, go get the police, Cameron, up the man's dosage and make sure he had no more visitors. Hopefully the treatment will respond and he'll be better by the end of the week."

He watched as his two employees quickly got up and attended to their tasks. He sighed and walked into his office, the case had quickly left his mind and Chase's game slammed back into his thoughts.

Why do you hate your father?

How did he know that he had a bad relationship with his father? Did Wilson tell him? No, Wilson wouldn't do that, he only told Cameron stuff because her baby-tears always broke through him, he doubt Chase had tears that broke through Wilson's demeanor. He was supposed to be studying Chase, trying to solve his puzzle; he didn't want the wombat trying to solve the puzzle of why he is the way he is. Stacey never knew much of his personal life, he refused to tell her. He felt that it made him weak bearing out his soul to someone, he always needed to be strong; he did not want to be vulnerable with anyone. If anyone saw that Gregory House was vulnerable, they would use it against him.

He began to hate Chase very much for saving his life. Why didn't he just let me get shot, the bastard knew where he was aiming, he wanted House dead, he would have succeeded if it wasn't for the stupid wombat. Did Chase know that he might have died, was the wombat even thinking? Did Chase really care about him?

House shuddered at the mere thought. His employee, the one he has been pushing the hardest for years, the one who he insults the most, the one who pokes more in his personal life, the one who he always dampens his pride, all those things if one had a one way street mind, they would think that House hated Chase, hell, even Wilson thought for the longest time that House hated him, he wanted House to fire him after Vogler. House would never let people try and see the Chase that he saw. He portrayed Chase in a negative light to people. Foreman thought Chase was a lazy rich boy who had his whole life handed to him on a silver plate. Cameron thought Chase was cute and perfect, a toy that did not need any fixing. House did nothing but try to make those things true.

The truth was, Chase was a hard-working employee who worked hard and suffered to achieve the things he wanted in his life, he was a fighter, and he was most definitely broken.

How could Chase care about House? How could Chase respect him?

He paused as he remembered punching Chase. Chase did not even tattle on him. He just went upon his job and acted like it didn't happen. He remembered when he went to rehab, Cameron had pity him, Foreman just acted like it was another part of the game House was playing, Chase…had gave him a small sad smile, it wasn't pity…it was more like an understanding.

Damn….how could he not have seen this. Chase was an empathic. He grabbed his cane and limped out of his office. He needed to go talk to Wilson.

Wilson sighed as he read over his patient's notes before typing into his report on his computer. He grabbed the file and closed it, preparing to place it in his draw when suddenly the door opened and House come bargaining. Catching him off-guard Wilson jumped, tossing his file up in the air.

Annoyed, Wilson watch the falling papers landing around and he glared at his intruder.

"House, not now. I have a meeting in ten min-"

"Chase asked me why I hated my father." House declared, sitting into the chair across from him. The man looked as if he declared something dramatic. Wilson just rolled his eyes and rubbed his hands through his face,

"That honestly does not surprise me. Chase is like you…doesn't let anybody in. You can't even have a personal conversation with the man…just like we can't have a serious conversation with you." Wilson began to pick up his papers, "Why did he ask you that?"

"He wanted to turn this into a game. He'll answer one of my questions, if I answer one of his, I think it's a back and forth thing…but…" House twirled his cane, motioning around the room, "I don't want to tell him my personal life, I just want to find out his!"

Wilson patted the papers down evenly, "The kid's smart, what did you expect? Didn't you tell me that he picked his own battles to fight?" He leaned back, searching for his briefcase.

"That's beside the point, look…what do I do?"

Wilson turned to House and laughed, "You're asking me? You never listen to my advice; you always do the opposite of what I say!"

House dropped his cane to the ground and exhaled softly, "I just want to find out the truth."

"You mean you want to solve your puzzle." Wilson shook his head, "House, Chase is a human being, it's not going to be as simple as finding out the symptoms and putting it all together." Wilson stopped as he saw something in House's eyes, "This is more than a puzzle to you…isn't it?"

House's eyes hardened and his emotions were hidden, he didn't say anything.

Wilson sighed, "Look, House, you and Chase, you both have walls. You both don't let people in easy and you both don't tend to correct what people bother to say or gossip about you. You both think it's easier to let people make their own assumptions. Maybe this will be good for you if you told him your personal life House, you never told anyone…not even Stacey." Wilson grabbed his briefcase and placed the file into it. Snapping it shut, he continued, "Maybe some burdens will be lifted off both of you guys if you shared something. I don't think Chase is expecting your life story, I think he doesn't want you dragging him down some harsh memories and tortures without you feeling anything as well."

He stood up as he saw House deep in thought, he heard the Vicodin lid popping on and off in House's pocket. "Who knows, maybe you'll learn something about yourself…or maybe…." He headed towards the door, thinking of how to phrase the words in his mind, he paused in front of the door knob. He turned to House, "Maybe it'll help ease the pain."

House moved his head and locked eyes with Wilson and Wilson couldn't read any emotions from him. Maybe he just needed a reason not to play this game, Wilson thought bitterly.

"Then again…you never take heed in my advices anyway." He opened the door, ready for his meeting, "Lock the door on your way out."

House watched as Wilson departed down the hall. The man had a point…a good point. But it was a pathetic point. Why would House even do that? So much for coming to Wilson. He fixed his eyes on Wilson's chair, rerunning his words in his head. He grabbed his Vicodin and popped two into his mouth. Dry-swallowing he got up onto his feet, General Hospital started in a half hour and he needed a place to escape from Cuddy and his problems.

Chase yawned as he flipped the channel, not that he was paying any attention to the television. He should go to bed soon; he had to go back to work bright and early tomorrow. He groaned, he hadn't had a day off in probably two years and the past two days, even though he was injured, was quite relaxing, no running around solving puzzles, no saving peoples' lives. Just a day for himself. He decided that when he goes back, he should plan to take a week off in the next month or so, maybe go back home. He hadn't been home for three years. He didn't even go home for his father's funeral, maybe it was time for him to go back.

He felt an ache in his heart, wow, he must really be homesick. Funny, growing up hadn't been a picnic for him, he spent his entire life wanting to escape and now here he was, yearning to return back to the home he vowed never to return to. Maybe it was because he had nothing left for him there.

He was so lost in thought that he failed to hear the door open. He was startled as he heard a voice.

"He was a manipulative bastard." House was standing in the doorway.

Chase got onto his feet, "How did you---"

House stepped forward, interrupting him, "He was a manipulative bastard."

Chase froze as he realized what House was saying. He sank back into his couch watching as House shut the door and walked towards him.

"Nothing I ever did pleased him…he used to…he used to abuse me when I was growing up. Always tried to make me be like him, only better. And I hate that my father will now look upon me and he would not like the man I've become. He displeased of who I am…my own father."

Chase was shocked, he really wanted to pinch himself to see if he was dreaming, wanted to remark that House was lying and to stop joking but..he could tell…House was serious. House was bearing his soul. House never bared his soul. He stared hard at House, taking in his words.

"I don't hate him though…but I don't love him either. He just exists…he means…" Chase slid over so that House could sit on the couch, he could see that the pain was getting worst in his leg, "he means nothing to me."

Chase's breath got caught in his throat and part of him wanted to reach out and comfort House. But he knew that if he did that, House would go running away. This is not what House wanted..this is not what he needs. Chase sat up straighter, "Jon and his younger brother Ethan."

House looked over at him, and Chase waited for House's blank expression to return but the angst was still in his face.

"The guys in the picture," he continued, "Jon was my best friend, I met him in the seminary a week after my mother died. Heh…well, he was helping me clean up…" Chase plastered on an innocent expression on his face, "I kinda set the pew on fire." He almost smiled as House let out a small chuckle. "It was during a baptism, and I dropped the fire on the nun's dress. They made my life miserable after that, I think that started my hate for them."

Chase rubbed his broken arm, "Jon helped me through a lot, and helped me try to pursue my dreams of going to college here in America. My father found me and dragged me away from the seminary, he forced me into medical school and told me I had to become a doctor and follow into his footsteps. Jon came after me and told me to disobey my father, to run off and go after my own dreams…" Chase closed his eyes as the memories slammed into him.

If you don't run away now, your father will haunt you for the rest of your life.

If I run away, my father will only come after me again and again; he will never leave me alone.

You'll never know until you try. Run Robbie, only you can make something out of yourself…not your father.

"He's the reason why I become an insentivist." Chase opened his eyes and stared at House. Here they were face to face with their souls out in the open. House nodded, he sense there was more to this story, but he didn't want to press. If he did, Chase would only close up on him. Patience, wait for him to gather his thoughts.

"It was the first time that I took my own path…with my father I always felt so trapped…" Chase clenched his right hand into a fist, "I just wanted to make my life mean something…with him, it always felt…worthless…ya know?"

It was silent and House knew that Chase wasn't going to say anymore. Neither of them would. Story time was over for tonight. House gripped hard on his cane…he can't believe he told Chase that but for some reason, he felt a little lighter. He kind of liked this feeling. He was surprised that Chase answered his question without hesitation, like a response. There was no pity in his eyes, he could tell that they could walk into work tomorrow and Chase wouldn't be disgusted by him. He glanced at the television set and then looked over back at Chase,

"OC reruns are on now, wanna watch them?"

Chase almost laughed, "Why not?" He and House stared at each other, reading one another, figuring it out. "Want me to make some popcorn?"

"Sounds good…" House watched as Chase stood up, "Listen…"

"No worries mate," Chase placed a finger on his lips, "My lips are sealed."

House laughed as Chase gave him a mischievous grin. He watched as Chase walked into his kitchen, searching for his bag of popcorn. He reached for the remote on the coffee table and stopped as he realized something.

There was a crack in Chase's mask.