Despite what people thought, thanks to six years of House saying it, Robert Chase was not an idiot. He could be oblivious, on occasion, and while his IQ was pretty high, he knew he was nothing compared to House. It didn't bother him much, not anymore, with great intelligence came great jerkiness, he figured, and while he wasn't a saint, he wasn't the asshole House was either.
So all in all, life was good.
Except, not being the idiot House thought he meant he noticed the older man's renewed interest in his girlfriend.
It had dwindled over the past couple of years, Chase had always been aware of the progression of things between the two over the past few years. He and Cameron had always been friends, and she had never been any good at hiding whatever she felt for anyone. She'd gotten better at it certainly, with the new look had come a new stronger, feistier Cameron, but that had caught House's attention.
And his attraction.
Part of him wanted to punch him. Square on the jaw, or in the gut, or with his own cane, but the man hadn't actually done anything that he knew of, and neither had Cameron. Neither would Cameron. He was sure of that.
He knew, if anything, she would leave him for House.
It was hard to be angry with her though, when she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, kissed him lightly on the lips and gave him the stupidly cute smile he loved so much.
So if he could just ignore the little jealousy that popped up in his mind every so often, the paranoia she accused him of from time to time, he'd be fine. They'd be fine. His nice little life with Cameron, but then, that was ruined when he caught a glimpse of her kissing House in his office.
He'd seen Cameron kiss House once before, three months ago, her hands hanging by her sides, House's hands in her blonde hair.
He had kissed her, and she had been caught up in it. Chase had believed her, of course he had believed her. Her body language had given her away, she had been leaning away from him, her arms limp by her sides. He had understood, House had found Cameron increasingly attractive since she'd started to change, becoming stronger, naughtier even. Chase was more attracted to her too.
So he'd moved on, they'd moved on.
This was different though. House had his hands in her hair again, but their bodies were pressed together, her hands on his face, holding him to her.
This time she was kissing back.
And enjoying it, because he knew Cameron, knew the flush rising across her cheeks and chest.
It was surreal.
He kinda wanted to press his nose up to the glass of the diagnostics office to get a better look at them. A better look at House and his girlfriend. She was minutely pushing her hips into his, and he knew, from experience, that House wouldn't notice until his hands moved down her body to her ass.
He didn't want to stick around for that, and when his hands moved to her shoulders he left.
He was hungover the next day, but had crawled into work anyway, and spent half an hour throwing up in the doctors locker room, thinking about his empty bed, hoping she had slept alone, at home, knowing it was unlikely. The images of House kissing her, the sweet flush on her skin caused by the older man, her hands on his face, thumbs stroking his skin, it had kept him awake, kept him drinking. He'd woken up hanging off the side of his bed, having passed out, pissed because House should be the one with his head in a toilet bowl and be the one waking up with Cameron's body curled around him.
Part of him wanted to go find her, have some sort of public show down. Embarrass her in front of the hospital, making sure everyone knew the good little doctor had cheated on him, done something immoral.
He didn't want the humiliation though, didn't want everyone to know he had finally lost Cameron to House.
So he kept his grip on the toilet seat, and kept heaving.
He had either passed out again or had fallen to sleep when he felt small hands on his back, shaking him gently.
"It's Dr. Cuddy."
He opened her eyes to look at his boss and groaned. She wasn't angry like he suspected though, that concern he'd seen her show patients, House, it was etched deep into her face. She was so different from Cameron though, all dark hair, and bright eyes.
"Matherson called me. He's worried about you."
Chase grunted, closing his eyes again, head resting back on his arms, leaning on the toilet seat.
"What happened?" she asked, her voice low.
"Ask House," he muttered. Cuddy sighed, her soft touch on his back turning into a firm grip under his arm as she pulled him to his feet.
"Where we going?"
"You're going to have a lie down, then I'm taking you home," she said. "Can you walk?" she asked, taking a step away. He wobbled but stayed on his feet.
He followed her down to her office, leaning against the elevator as they travelled down to the ground floor. When the doors opened he was slow to react, to push himself upright and forward after her, as she walked to her office. He felt like everyone was looking at him, like they knew. Knew Cameron had slept with House.
How, he didn't know. He didn't know for sure.
He kept his head down, his eyes on Cuddy's heels, only looking up when she stopped and he nearly walked into her. Seeing they were at her office he looked to her and found her smiling at him.
"Lie down," she said quietly, gesturing towards her sofa. She handed him a bottled of water. "Drink that, sleep," she ordered, "I have meetings most of the day, you won't be disturbed."
He nodded and settled on her sofa. Before she left she placed a trash can by his side and she really wasn't a big a bitch as Cameron thought.
When he woke up, he wasn't alone. Cuddy was at her desk, fingers dancing quietly over her keyboard. He sat up with a groan, rubbing his head.
"There's some painkillers on the table." Her voice came across the room, quiet, soft and he appreciated it. He grabbed the little white pills and the fresh bottle of water, downing both before turning to face her.
"I am really sorry Dr. Cuddy," he said, getting to his feet.
"I spoke to House." She didn't get up, but she stopped typing, eyes fixed on him.
"Quick to admit it was he?"
"No," she hesitated, "but I think Cameron was there."
Chase shrugged and stood up, running his hand through his blond hair, grimacing at the dirty feel of it.
"If you give me five minutes I'll drive you home."
"I'll be okay."
"No," she said, face stern, voice sharp. "You shouldn't have driven here in the first place."
He dropped his eyes to the carpet and felt the heat rise up on his cheeks. Idiot, she was right, of course, but he hadn't been thinking about the danger he posed out on the road. Just Cameron.
"No," he mumbled.
"Go get your things, I'll meet you by my car."
She was already at her car when he'd gotten his head together, his things from his locker and his jacket from the doctors lounge. She smiled at him again, unlocking the car with the automatic clicker, climbing in herself. He followed, climbing into the passenger seat and belting up without being prompted.
"I live at..." he started, Cuddy cutting him off with a hand on his knee.
"I know where you live Dr. Chase," she said, starting the engine up.
"Of course, I should've realised that." He blushed, felt the slight heat of embarrassment again, and busied himself by finally taking a look at his cell phone.
"Three messages," he huffed.
"Listen to them tomorrow, when you've got a clear head," she advised, "when your system is clear of the...vodka?" she guessed.
She frowned, glancing quickly his way, but keeping her concentration on the road. They remained in silence for the rest of the drive, Chase fidgeting a little. He'd never felt entirely comfortable around Cuddy. She was older, gorgeous, in charge. Being in such close proximity to her left him feeling a little odd.
At his apartment building, she put her hand n his knee to stop him from getting out.
"I know it hurts right now," she said, with a conviction that later had him wondering if House had screwed her over too, "just don't get drunk again tonight. Deal with it tomorrow."
He nodded, not knowing exactly what to say except; "Thank you."
She smiled and lifted her hand away, letting him get out the car.
He woke to the sound of frantic banging on his door and for a moment he thought maybe the building was on fire and he had to get out. But it was Cameron shouting his name through the door, not one of his neighbours.
"Chase let me in"" she yelled, panicked.
"Fuck off!" he yelled back from his bedroom, pushing himself up off the bed. He was still feeling the side effects of his hangover and still thinking about what Cuddy had said.
"Robert we need to talk!" He walked through his apartment, spying through his peephole at Cameron, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, hair pulled into the same messy ponytail House had been running his fingers through.
"Go away Allison," he said through the door.
"Robert, please," she pleaded.
He went into the kitchen for more water, Cuddy's influence, then went back to bed, shutting his bedroom door to her knocking.
More knocking, but softer this time and finally Cameron had calmed, he thought, wrapping a towel around his waist. Dripping across his carpeted floors, he went to his front door and peered through the peephole. He jumped a little when he saw Cuddy standing in his hallway, looking a little nervous, as if that were possible. He watched as she turned and knocked again, once, twice, softly. He gave it a moment, then opened the door to her.
"Dr. Chase," she said, her eyes gliding down his chest for a moment. "I just came by to..."
"Make sure I hadn't drank myself into a House-like oblivion?"
"Something like that," she said with a grin and a blush. "How are you doing?"
"Hangover's gone," he said, "Cameron came round."
"You talked?" she asked, then suddenly, "sorry, none of my business."
"Nah, it's fine," he smiled, "we didn't talk, I didn't answer the door."
"Okay," she nodded, thinking it over, "do you need a ride to work?" she asked, "you must've left your car there yesterday."
"Yeah, that'd be great," he said, smiling, "I need ten minutes."
"I'll wait in my car," she said.
"Come in, help yourself to coffee," he said, holding the door wide open. She smiled again and walked past him into the apartment. "Kitchen's just through there," he said pointing. She followed his finger and took a last look at his drying chest, before going after some coffee. He smiled, Cuddy was making him feeling a lot better, and went to get dressed.
When he came out, she was looking around his CDs. She smiled, that nervous look passing over her face and body once again. She opened her mouth to speak, but he cut her off.
"I know, I have no dress sense, Cameron keeps..." he said, he paused at her name, "you preferred the towel look right?" The words were cheeky, but he had forced the tone, by the look on her face, she knew. She smiled anyway.
"Are you ready to go?"
In her car she reached into the back seat and dumped a white paper bag into his lap.
"Bagels," she explained
"You don't have to look after me Dr. Cuddy," he protested. Weakly, taking a bagel form the bag anyway. "I can take care of myself."
"I know, I just ordered too many," she said, voice fake, innocent, smile on her face. He smiled back.
"Are you going to talk to Cameron today?" she asked, her eyes were focused on the road, but he turned his head to look out of the window anyway.
"Can't avoid her entirely can I?" he said, "she might not have slept with him."
He thought he heard her laugh, or heard an amused 'huh', but brushed it off when there was nothing else from her.
"Just don't confront House about it. At least not in the hospital," she said, "someone will get hurt."
"Gonna take his side," he snapped, then as quickly, he said, "sorry."
"No, but I'm the one who had to clean up afterwards," she snapped back.
They were silent after than, Chase feeling embarrassed and chastised. Cuddy had been good to him over this, for reasons he hadn't figured out yet.
She pulled up in the parking garage and shut the engine off. He adjusted his bag strap and went to get out of the car, but she stopped him by speaking.
"I didn't think you'd get hurt."
"Out of all this, I didn't think you'd get hurt," she said, "I thought Cameron would, by you and House."
He didn't know what to say but relaxed back into the passenger seat to listen to her.
"I knew, I know how House feels about her, I should've seen this coming, I'm sorry."
"What do you feel for House?" he asked.
"Does it matter? This isn't anything to do with me really."
"It is," he said, before leaning forward to kiss her on the lips.
She was still, stunned for a moment before she kissed back, leaning across the car towards him, unsure where to put her hands until he took them and held them still. When a car dashed past, she jumped away from him and back into the drivers side door.
"Dr. Chase," she said, breathless. He smiled at that. "These are rebound feelings because Cameron slept with House, and you don't even know if she did."
"What made you think she was there?" he asked, "when you spoke to House?"
"I heard her, in the background," she said, "called him House."
"What, he has his hookers call him Greg?" he spat. He couldn't quite decipher the look on her face, but it was obvious she knew the answer.
He went to kiss her again but she pulled away, the moment their lips connected. She opened the door, gathering her briefcase from the back seat and got out, waiting for him to do the same, Chase assumed. When he followed, he sighed, she was angry, and gorgeous, but right. Rebound feelings. Revenge maybe. Fuck the woman House was constantly fucking with.
"You're in surgery at ten," she told him, her voice as hard as she'd ever heard it. "Talk to Cameron, stay away from House, do your job."
With that she locked the car up and walked away.
Cameron was waiting for him at the hospital entrance, watching Cuddy with a confused frown as the woman had whirled past her, but turning when she spotted him dawdling behind the Dean of Medicine. She ran up to him, no cute smile, but that look of shame he'd seen her wearing once before, a long time ago.
"Robert," she said, "we need to talk."
That was all he said before heading away form the hospital, Cameron on his heels.
"Did you sleep with him?" he asked, once they were a little away from the hospital.
"Robert, I'm sorry, I..."
"Did you sleep with him?" he repeated. "Yes or no."
"Do you love him?"
"Glad we talked."
He spun around and headed back towards the hospital, leaving Cameron stunned for a second. She ran to catch up with him, walking backwards to face him when she couldn't get him to stop.
"Robbie, please, I'm sorry."
"You probably are Allison," he said, "doesn't change anything."
"I thought I was being paranoid," he said, stopping, "you've accused me of it often enough anyway, but I always knew."
He took a breath, watched her think, watched the tears form. The guilt hurt her, as much as the betrayal hurt him. He didn't take much comfort in it though, he blamed himself, and House. Like Cuddy, he should've known.
"I need to get to work. I have surgery."
She let him pass, wiping her tears but he didn't dwell on it. He could dwell on it later. With Tequila.
He owed Cuddy an apology, though for what, he wasn't sure. Kissing her had pissed her off, but he had liked it, he liked Cuddy. Regardless of that, she had been good to him, really nice, looking after him like she would look after House and while the comparison smarted a little, he appreciated her anyway. He needed to thank her and apologise. Without kissing her again.
Her assistant smiled at him and waved him through, and he knocked on the panes of glass before opening the door.
"Dr. Chase," she said, looking up from paperwork. He walked into the room and closed the doors behind him. He stood opposite her hesitating.
"Did you speak to Cameron?" she asked, standing.
"She loves him."
"I'm sorry Chase."
He shrugged. He didn't really know how he felt about it. Like a pretty blonde had ripped his heart out and given it to a miserable cripple. It hurt and he could only find sanctuary in beer or women. Cuddy wasn't willing to let him have either. She walked around the desk and put her hand on his shoulder.
"If you need to take a day off..."
"I'll be fine," he said, a little harsher than he intended, "I just wanted to apologise, I was out of line in the car, and I wanted to thank you, you've been...nice."
"You're forgiven and you're welcome," she said.
He couldn't help himself.
He'd always thought Cuddy was hot, House had always been right about that. He leaned forward, grasping the hand on her shoulder in his own and kissing her.
She kissed back again, her hand tightening it's grip on his shoulder, tongue pushing against his so quickly, he was surprised but not disappointed. At least, not until she moaned, then pushed him away with the hand on his shoulder.
"Sorry," he muttered.
"You're hurting. It's okay but," she took a breath, regaining what she had lost while kissing him, "I will not be your one night stand, your release and revenge," she said. "I won't get caught up in this mess."
She smiled, kissing him chastely.
"Come and talk to me again in three months," she said.
"Three months? Is that how long it took you to stop hurting when House screwed you over?"
She slapped him, the sound echoing right through to the glass panes in her office doors. He clasped his cheek and took a step away, but she closed the distance between them once more, to kiss him hard. She wanted him, that much very fucking clear. The rest, House, her feelings for him, for either of them, weren't so clear, but it didn't matter. She was right, and he had a lot of hurting to get over.
He hoped it only took three months, but he didn't think he was as strong as Cuddy.
"If you need anything else," she said, sitting back down, not looking at him again.
He didn't speak, just nodded and left her office. He'd come back in three months, whether he had gotten over Cameron or not.