Robert Chase strode into the Clinic area around 10 AM that Tuesday morning, wearing a set of light yellow scrubs with a brown long sleeved t- shirt underneath. He had a slightly confident strut in his step that he had acquired almost two years ago since House had given him his walking papers.

As he breezed past the Charge Nurse's station, he nodded a 'hello' to nurse Brenda, but continued toward his intended destination.

Without knocking, he opened the door and entered Cuddy's office. She was seated at her desk, writing in her appointment book.

"It's Tuesday," Chase announced to her, holding onto the doorknob, only entering the office half- way.

Cuddy glanced upwards towards Chase with only her eyes.

"I know what day it is," Cuddy replied, looking back down at her book.

Chase nodded as his eyes were drawn to how well Cuddy's fitted ecru- colored jacket complimented the lacy light pink camisole she was wearing underneath it.

"Same time?" Chase asked, arching his eyebrow.

Cuddy closed the book and shifted her attention to her computer. She moved the mouse slightly to get rid of the screensaver.

"Come at around eight. They moved the show up an hour earlier," Cuddy replied, focused on the budget spreadsheet that was now displayed on her monitor.

"Italian or Chinese?" Chase asked patiently.

Cuddy looked away from her monitor at Chase, noticing that his blue- green eyes looked more green than blue at that moment.

"Surprise me," Cuddy replied with a noncommittal shrug.


That night, at around five minutes to eight, Chase headed up the walkway to Cuddy's home, holding a large white shopping bag from Cuddy's favorite Chinese restaurant and his messenger bag slung over his chest and shoulder.

He had changed out of his scrubs and was wearing a pair of faded jeans with a slight rip in the right knee, a white t- shirt, his leather jacket and a pair of worn in brown sneakers.

Once he reached her door, he rang the doorbell and absentmindedly looked around the as he waited for her to answer.

A few moments later, Cuddy answered the door, wearing a pair of low rise dark jeans and a light pink scoop neck t- shirt. She was barefoot.

Chase noticed that the color of the shirt was the same color as the camisole that she had worn that day under her jacket.

"C'mon in. It's starting in a few minutes," Cuddy told him, taking the bag of take- out Chinese food out of his hand.

Chase removed his leather jacket and his sneakers before following Cuddy into her living room. By the time he got there, Cuddy was already taking the white cartons of food and the several pairs of chopsticks out of the shopping bag.

"You didn't get soup?" Cuddy asked him, looking through the shopping bag.

"We never eat it, so I didn't bother," Chase replied with a shrug as he took his messenger bag off his shoulder and placed it on the floor next to her couch.

Cuddy looked down at Chase's feet to make sure that he had removed his shoes. Chase smirked in response.

"I think I've been here enough times to know the rules," Chase quipped.

Cuddy rolled her eyes and grinned. "Just sit down already," she said.

Chase's smirk turned into one of his dazzling smiles as he grabbed one of the cartons of food and a set of chopsticks before settling down on her leather couch.

Cuddy grabbed one of the cartons as well as a set of chopsticks and sat down on her couch several inches away from Chase.

As Chase began to eagerly devour his General Tso's chicken, Cuddy had to use all her effort not to laugh at Chase sitting on her couch with his legs crossed 'Indian Style,' as if he was an eight year old kid.

But before she could tease him about the way he was sitting, Cuddy snapped her attention to the TV.

Her favorite weekly medical drama had started and she never missed an episode.

"It's supposed to be a great case this week," Cuddy said enthusiastically as the credits continued.

"There's a great case every week," Chase replied.

"Shh. No more talking," Cuddy ordered him in a hushed voice once the show started.


By the first commercial break, Chase had already eaten half of his carton of General Tso's chicken.

But Cuddy was so engrossed in the show that she had barely touched her food.

"So what do you think of the diagnostician's new team?" Cuddy said, finally taking a small amount of her chicken and steamed vegetables with her chopsticks.

"…Not sure yet," Chase replied in between bites.

Cuddy looked at him incredulously.

"They've been on the show for over a year now!" Cuddy stated. "How could you not have an opinion?"

Chase shrugged playfully. He knew how obsessed Cuddy was with this show and he loved getting a rise out of her about it by pretending not to care.

"I… really don't have an opinion either way," Chase said coyly.

"You miss the old team, don't you?" Cuddy said knowingly.

"It was time for them to move on," Chase said. "It would be unrealistic for them to serve in a fellowship with this guy for more than three years anyway."

"The neurologist is still on his team," Cuddy pointed out.

"Only because the administrator is making him BABYSIT the diagnostician," Chase replied, thickening his accent ever so slightly on the word 'babysit.'

"The diagnostician NEEDS a baby sitter," Cuddy said defensively.

"Show's back on," Chase said, jutting his chin at the TV.

Cuddy exhaled in exasperation through her nose at the fact that Chase wouldn't engage her in the debate that she was craving and turned her attention back to the TV.


By the next commercial break, Cuddy had eaten a little more. Chase was already trying to open up one of the pre- packaged fortune cookies that had come with their meal.

"I can't BELIEVE that blond E.R. doctor is still in love with the diagnostician," Chase remarked.

Cuddy turned to him with a look of disbelief. "Why don't you believe it?" Cuddy asked.

"Because he's an A$$," Chase replied with slight disgust.

"The surgeon apparently doesn't think so," Cuddy said. "He's still willing to do whatever the diagnostician asks him to do."

"That's because the surgeon's a classy guy," Chase replied matter of factly.

"…I can see why women would find the diagnostician attractive," Cuddy said offhandedly.

Chase looked up from his fortune cookie package. "You DO?" he asked with disbelief.

"He's brilliant… he's sexy… he's not afraid to take risks—" Cuddy began evasively.

"On his PATIENTS. He NEVER takes risks in his personal life," Chase interrupted firmly.

"He's been through a lot over the years," Cuddy argued.

Chase snorted slightly. "All women are the same," he scoffed.

"What does THAT mean?" Cuddy demanded.

Chase turned his body towards her, taking one of his legs off the couch.

"You think that under this guy's snarky, gruff exterior there lies a wounded sensitive soul who just needs the right woman to make him human," Chase stated dramatically.

"I don't think that," Cuddy stated vehemently.

"Yeah. Whatever," Chase mumbled, focusing on his fortune cookie once more.

Cuddy shook her head and took some more of her food with her chopsticks.

As she chewed and swallowed, she watched Chase open up the fortune cookie and take the tiny piece of paper out of it.

As he ate the cookie, Chase read the fortune silently to himself and shoved the little slip of paper into the front pocket of his jeans.

At this point, Chase had been coming over for dinner every night for almost two weeks.

And every time they ordered Chinese food, he always shoved his fortunes into his pocket, never telling her what they said.

At first, she merely shrugged it off as another one of Chase's peculiarities.

But now she was starting to become curious about it.

And for some reason, she didn't feel comfortable asking Chase why he did it.

When the commercial break ended, Cuddy turned her attention away from Chase and back at the TV. After a few moments of watching, she laughed.

"What's so funny?" Chase asked her as he watched.

"I was just thinking about how badly the surgeon used to dress when he was a fellow on the diagnostician's team," Cuddy replied.

"I didn't see anything wrong with the way he used to dress when he was on the team," Chase commented, slightly defensively.

"Oh please. Either the character is colorblind or he's trying to break the world record for most mismatched patterns a person can wear at once," Cuddy said.

"Ok, fine. You wanna talk about dressing inappropriately? Look at the female administrator on this show!" Chase argued.

"What about her?" Cuddy asked with a grimace.

Chase laughed out loud.

"Since when is cleavage accented by lingerie appropriate office attire?!" Chase demanded.

"Powerful women in powerful positions can wear powerful clothes, Dr. Chase," Cuddy said lightly.

"And powerful women in powerful positions use whatever advantage they have to assert their power over their employees, Dr. Cuddy," Chase replied, matching her airy tone.

"And you don't think the surgeon has taken whatever opportunity he can get on this show?" Cuddy argued. "He ratted out the diagnostician in season 1, he used to kiss the diagnostician's a$$--"

"He's had a tough life. Both his parents died. He had to use any advantage he could—" Chase shot back.

"Shut up. Commercial's over," Cuddy interrupted him, turning back to the TV.

Chase grunted in response as he returned his attention back to the show.


A while later, the show had ended. Cuddy and Chase were still seated on her couch, and Chase was digging through his messenger bag.

"You have all the notes for the presentation?" Cuddy asked him.

"Yep, right here," Chase replied, pulling out a large file of papers and handing them to her.

Cuddy nodded, took the file from him and began wading through the various papers in the file.

"Thanks again for taking me along on this conference," Chase said, taking a pen out of his bag.

"You did a great job on this case. You deserve to present it," Cuddy replied, still perusing through the material.

Chase leaned back on the couch and gazed at Cuddy thoughtfully.

Ever since he had been coming over to her place for dinner and to work on their presentation for the conference they were attending together in a few days time, he noticed that she always wore her dark loose curly hair down about her shoulders.

And usually, stray locks of hair would fall into her face.

More than once, Chase had to fight the urge to brush the hair out of her eyes with his fingertips.

"So who are you leaving in charge of the hospital while you're away?" Chase said, placing one of his arms on the back of the couch.

"You mean who am I leaving in charge of HOUSE while I'm away," Cuddy clarified.

Chase chuckled. "Yeah," he said.

"Wilson's going to be acting administrator," Cuddy replied.

"Are you KIDDING me?" Chase asked in shock.

Cuddy turned away from the paper work and towards Chase.

"What?" she demanded.

"You already emasculated House by putting Foreman back on his team as your 'eyes and ears.' Now you're gonna put Wilson in your office? House'll roll all over him!" Chase exclaimed.

"It's only for a few days. How much damage can House do in a few days?" Cuddy asked.

"Again. Are you KIDDING me?" Chase repeated.

Cuddy turned back to the papers and took one sheet out of the file, thrusting it at Chase.

"Here. Make yourself useful and re- read our opening remarks," Cuddy ordered him.

Chase took the paper from his boss and started reading the opening to their joint presentation to himself. They shared the next few moments in silence as they both concentrated on their work.

"Does House know that Wilson's taking your place while you're at the conference?" Chase asked, breaking the silence.

"You think I'm that stupid?" Cuddy replied, not looking up from the file.

Chase then put the paper that he was holding down in his lap and gazed at Cuddy once more.

"Does House know that I'm going with you on this conference?" Chase asked her, his blue- green eyes sparkling mischievously.

Cuddy turned to Chase once more, noticing the sparkle in his eyes, but refusing to acknowledge it.

"Again. You think I'm that stupid?" Cuddy asked him with a smile.