Author Notes: Random little thing that came to me on holiday. It's set directly after the season 3 episode Half-Wit (the one with the hug!) This is House/Chase slash, don't like, don't read etc. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Why had he done it? At the time, it had seemed like the right thing to do. After all, Chase had spent so much time watching the man, analysing his every move, that he had known the only possible approach would have been direct, to the point, and definitely not involving an overt Cameron-esque emotional moment. It was, as he had seen it, his last chance. Hell, his only chance.
But no. He had been careless. He hadn't thought it through. He hadn't thought House through. There's always something else, things are never as they seem, especially when House is concerned, and Chase had forgotten that golden rule.
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
There was that constriction in the chest, the tightness of breath as he realised how much of a puzzle his actions would have produced. Might as well give in now.
The phone rang, and Chase started. His heart rate, which had already been on the verge of panic as he sat in his darkened living room with only his thoughts to dwell on, seemed to increase tenfold. Forcibly calming himself down, Chase reached for the phone, belatedly realising as he pressed the answer button that he should have looked at the caller ID, "Hello?"
"Isn't a hug more Cameron's style?" The all too familiar snide tone rang through the receiver, and Chase could almost hear his stomach wrench with dread. Avoidance, avoidance is good.
"It's four in the morning, and you call me up to tell me, once again, that you think I'm too much like a girl?"
House ignored the comment. Chase had, after all, answered the phone almost immediately, so the time was obviously not an issue. "It was just a nice change - Cameron trying to assume the hard-assed guy approach and you acting more touchy-feely than usual, losing whatever of your manhood you still retained-"
Chase cut across, unable to handle this faceless conversation, even if continuing it later at work would be infinitely worse, "But as you don't actually have cancer, don't you think this whole conversation is rather pointless?"
Chase waited for House to continue, but when nothing came forth, he decided to take the opportunity to escape, "Goodnight, House."
"Night." And he hung up, leaving an even more conflicted and confused Australian listening to the dial tone.
When nothing more eventful than Cameron giving House another lecture occurred the next day, and no mention of either hug or phone call was made, Chase breathed easy. That was, of course, until he jerked awake to the sound of his too-loud phone. Blindly, he reached for the troublesome device, "What?"
"I thought the British were genetically bred with good phone manners?"
Chase blinked. This had to be a dream, "I...House?"
"No, Cameron. I need to have a deep and meaningful conversation." The voice snapped impatiently.
Still rather confused and only half-awake, Chase's response lacked its usual brain-to-mouth censor. He snorted, "Cameron and I don't really do deep and meaningful. Not really her style when it comes to me." There was a long pause in which Chase's brain caught up with his mouth, back-playing what he had just revealed to House. He began stuttering, trying to think of something intelligible to say in an attempt to rescue himself.
House's clear voice cut over his mumbling, "Don't be late for work." He hung up once more.
Chase stared incredulously at the phone, not quite sure if any of that had actually just happened or not, watching the little orange screen flash him the time of 4:03 am.
It was really starting to unnerve Chase. For five nights in a row now, he had received the same phone call from his boss at four in the morning, each one usually lasting around five minutes and yet whenever they were at work it was as if nothing was going on. On top of that, their new case meant that there was rarely any time when Cameron or Foreman weren't with Chase, running some sort of test or other.
Cameron was in a progressively bad mood. It was obvious she still had feelings for House, and his little stunt with the cancer had only increased her desire to deny said feelings. This inevitably put pressure on Chase as her demand for sex at the oddest of times and in the most awkward of places increased. Added to that this weird new game of House's, and Foreman's growing snide remarks over his and Cameron's fucked up relationship, Chase was headed for a major explosion at someone. There were only so many masks he could construct before he inevitably used the wrong one with the wrong person, and knowing his luck, it would either be a patient or House. He couldn't really decide which he thought would be worse.
He sat on the sofa, dimly registering that the television was spouting some random early morning crap. It had actually come to this. Was he so scared of the confrontation that he wouldn't just talk to House? It was just a damn hug! The conversation would only result in a few months of particularly sadistic torture, but what else was new for a person in House's employ? There shouldn't be anything stopping him.
And yet, here Chase was, sitting silently, watching his coffee table. Or rather, he was watching the offending object sitting on his coffee table. It was nearly four in the morning, and he knew that any normal person would have disconnected their phone line, switched off their cell, and gone to bed, especially considering his close call breaking-and-entering incident earlier on shift. But he just-
He jumped, despite having been waiting for the sound. Sighing resignedly, preparing his tired mind for yet another mind game, he clicked answer, "House?"
"Wow. Are you, like, psychic or something? I never knew! Hey, you think I should give you a pay rise?"
How in the world did this guy sound so awake? "No, I knew it was you because you've been calling me every night for the past week, House!"
"Really? A week? Huh... I could've sworn this was only the sixth night."
"Like it makes a difference!" Chase felt his tiredness overwhelm him, despite having not felt too bad in the wait for the call, "Please. Just, why are you doing this? If you want me to do your clinic duty, I will. Just...please...stop this."
Chase exploded, yelling down the receiver, "Because this isn't what human beings do! I know the concept of being human is difficult for you to comprehend, but just try for a second, okay? I'm sorry that I actually acted like I cared when I thought you were dying! I'm sorry I encroached on your personal space, and I'm sorry I felt for your sick game of the week!" He caught himself, remembering who it was he was talking to. More calmly, he continued, "Just please leave it at this. You've won. You got a reaction. See you tomorrow."
"Why are you all still standing there gawping? Go! Administer drugs! Makes little Timmy's parents happy!"
House made shooing motions, but Cameron still held back, unable to restrain herself, "The patient is a fourteen year old girl named Amanda."
"Go! Before the hospital experiences a shortage of Interferon!" Foreman made to say something, but was silence by a narrowing of House's eyes, "Not you Chase."
Chase froze on his way to the door, watching helplessly as Foreman gave him an odd look and closed the door. He took a deep breath, and then turned around to face his boss. House, however, had already stood up and collected his cane, limping towards Chase, and then past him towards the exit, "I haven't won. Not yet."
Chase just stood there. He heard the door click open and shut, and kept staring. What exactly had just happened? Because he was pretty sure he knew, but at the same time he could have fallen asleep on his sofa and this was just a twisted continuation of the phone calls. A very small, very hidden part of him was daring to think beyond panic and confusion, but then...no.
He would take his own advice. He was disconnecting his phone.
Chase jerked awake. He frowned. He was in his bed, his phone was off, so how was it that he was now staring at his clock at four in the morning?
A knocking echoed through the house, and he knew what had woken him. Chase sat bolt upright, his heart suddenly pounding, before his rational mind caught up with him. There was no way. Even House wouldn't pull something like this. He swung himself out of bed and pulled a t-shirt over his head, padding barefoot to the front door. He conveniently ignored the train of thought that no normal person would be knocking on his door at this time of night.
He opened the door, and if he had ever had any stray disillusioned thoughts at any point that House did things the normal way, this definitely shattered them. Chase was in too much shock to say anything, he could only step aside as House walked in and shut the door for him. All Chase could do was stare dumbly at the man who had been plaguing him for the past week as House's cool, certain eyes stared impassively back at him. "Now it's been a week."
Chase blinked, trying to concentrate on not completely losing it. This was not normal. This was not real life.
And neither was House taking a step forward, putting a hand behind Chase's neck and pulling him in for a kiss.
Spikes of shock ran through his body as he tried to process what was actually happening, and he responded on instinct, breathing hard as House pulled away again.
That did not just happen.
"And now I've won." House murmured.
Chase tilted his head slightly, but did not move away. He could only think of one thing to say, "It was just a hug..."
House gave him an almost imperceptible smile, something Chase was not certain if he recognised, "You forget. I'm a people person." Chase quirked an eyebrow despite himself, "Well, maybe not in the conventional sense, but you are definitely one of the most transparent people I have ever had forced upon my employment, and that includes Cameron. Don't worry; I don't think anyone else noticed."
Chase was completely thrown by this side of House. He wasn't exactly acting completely un-Houselike. He was still blunt and sure of himself, but there was no mocking, no snide remarks. In the back of his mind, Chase knew how much of a risk House was taking. He dimly recalled Cameron telling him about a conversation she had with Wilson a little while before her date disaster with House, about letting people in. Not thinking, he blurted out, "I didn't think you were gay."
House pulled a sarcastic smile, "The same could be said for you, Doctor Chase. If it hadn't been for my phone stalking, well, you could have kept those nurses fooled for even longer."
Chase's stomach lurched, panic rising up. What if this was all another game? What if Chase was just another puzzle? "I-"
House must have read the sudden emotions flitting across the smaller man's face, because he cut him off with another kiss, effectively silencing him before pulling apart once more and taking a half-step back, "You're on my clinic duty tomorrow." The surreal tone in which he said it kept Chase off balance, but it was soon followed by the attitude he knew so well, "And it is possible to like both men and women, you know. It's called bisexual, you'll have to look it up in your big book of terms a doctor should know."
He threw away a mock salute with his cane and closed the door behind him, leaving Chase to stare blankly before turning to slide heavily down the wall to sit on the floor. He didn't see that same rarely-used smile reappear on House's face as he swung himself onto his bike, only able to pass his fingers through his hair and rest his forehead on his knees. He let out a nervous breathy laugh, "That did not just happen."
And yet the slight tingling in his lips, and the tiny, nervous smile that flickered there would beg to differ.
Author Notes: This one's been hanging around on my computer for a while, as I haven't been certain as to whether I wanted to make it into a multi-chaptered fic. After much deliberation, seeing as this is my first attempt at proper slash, I've decided to leave it here. You never know, one day I might pick it up again, but until further notice, it will remain an open-ended oneshot. I hope you liked, and would be greatly appreciative of your thoughts, as like I said – first attempt at slash, and in this fandom! Thanks!