Chase sighed, hand on the back of House's wheelchair as they headed towards the elevators.
House stopped, suddenly, and he nearly ran into the back of the chair.
"What?" asked Chase, frowning.
"Cuddy's yelling at Wilson. I didn't even know Wilson had been released from the hospital."
"In her office?"
"Yeah," said House, turning the chair, "I'll catch up."
"Kay," said Chase, heading towards the elevators.
"What's going on?" asked House, wheeling himself into Cuddy's office, completely ignoring her assistant's attempts to stop him verbally.
"This idiot tried to sign out AMA."
"Cuddy, it's not like I'm going anywhere!" said Wilson, voice hoarse, "I'm going to be in the—" he broke off, coughing, leaning against Cuddy's desk.
"You can't see your patients like that," said House, pointedly.
"I know," said Wilson, regaining his breath, "but I need to get people into trials, I need to be able to do paperwork, which you keep confiscating."
"Because you need to rest, Wilson," said Cuddy, stepping towards him and placing her hand on his arm, "Brown's handling the emergencies, anything time sensitive."
Wilson tried to reply, but started coughing instead.
Cuddy gripped him around the shoulders, helping him stay upright as he coughed, violently.
"Wilson, you want to be able to help as many of your patients as you can, right?" asked House.
Wilson nodded, wiping his watering eyes.
"It's a lot easier to help people if you're not dead."
House grunted, sitting on the table in the physical therapy lab as the physical therapist stretched his bad leg out.
"Alright," said Stevenson after several exercises, "you can probably start using crutches now. Only bearing a little bit of weight, mind you. Don't just carry them around while you walk."
House sighed, nodding.
Chase gripped Foreman's sleeve, frowning. House was taking a long time to get out of the car.
"Chase?" asked Cameron, sounding worried.
"Nothing," said Chase, as he heard the awkward four-part sound of House's approach.
"This is stupid," growled House.
"It'll be fun," said Cameron, brightly.
"It's still stupid."
"You're just annoyed because you didn't think of it," said Foreman.
Chase didn't mention that it was probably more that House was missing Wilson than anything else.
Chase continued to hold on to Foreman on the way in—it was noisy, inside the pub, and House had a hard enough time with the hated crutches without Chase hanging on to him.
Foreman put his hand on the back of a chair, and sat down himself.
Chase heard House making his awkward way over, and smiled in the direction the footsteps were coming from.
He heard Cameron sit down, then a chair scraping, and House's light groan.
House touched his hand, and he smiled.
"I know you're here."
Chase heard the menus being distributed, and tried to figure out where the person passing them out was standing, and if they were in earshot.
He poked House, finding the restaurant way too noisy.
"Do you have Braille menus?" asked House's voice.
"No, I'm afraid not. Sorry."
Chase nodded, and heard House scoot his chair closer so he could read the menu to the younger doctor.
Unbeknownst to Chase and House, the latter of whom was focused on reading, both Cameron and Foreman were watching them, smiling.
The bell on the door rang, and Chase gritted his teeth as a noisy group entered.
He felt House touch him on the shoulder, and shook his head.
He wasn't going to freak out.
The appetizers came, and House told him in an undertone the orientation of the shrimp, melted butter, and cocktail sauce.
A while later…
Chase sighed, hand on House's arm—the one not occupied by a forearm crutch—as they stood outside the chemo ward.
"Well?" asked House, quietly.
"I… I don't think I want to talk to him. Now, or ever."
"Ok," said House, and he felt the arm move to go around his shoulders, "that's your choice to make."
Chase nodded, standing close.
"Not a problem."
Rowan looked up, as house's distinctive footsteps approached his bed.
"I take it… he decided he didn't want to have me in his life."
"How could you have done that? What the hell was going through your head?"
Rowan was silent for a long time, just coughing.
"I just had to get away. From her, from her problems. I spent so long trying to deal with them, that when he refused to come with me… I just didn't have the strength. I didn't want to break his heart. I know it sounds stupid, now… but… he wasn't ready to give up on her. And I didn't have the heart to make him. Maybe if I told him why…"
House was silent, looking at the floor as he sat next to his lover's father's bed.
"You did the wrong thing. There is no forgiveness. You were simply, purely, unequivocally wrong."
"No. you don't. it isn't something you can be forgiven for."
"He's going to hate you. He has the right to hate you."
"Your actions can't be forgiven."
"I know, dammit!"
"But your motives can."
"He doesn't know why you did what you did. If he knew, he would forgive you. Not for the action, but for the intention. And that would make it hard for him to live with hating you. Don't do that to him."
Rowan looked away for a long time.
"If your father did something horrible to you…. wouldn't you want to know that he did it out of love?"
"My father did do something horrible to me. And I know he did it out of love. That only makes it harder. Things—people—are so much easier to handle and deal with when they're black and white, clear-cut, good and bad. Which is why I'm telling you—don't take that away from him. You've already made his life hard enough."
"Yeah, ok. I won't tell him."
House nodded, getting up.
He started to limp away, then turned, and came back over.
"And don't tell anyone what I said about my dad."
Wilson was finally released from the hospital, though he was still stuck at home, taking it easy.
Of course, that meant he was in his office, just with the blinds drawn over the small windows oh either side of the door, so Cuddy wouldn't think he was working.
He called House the night he was released, and he, Chase and House ended up watching a law and order marathon until two in the morning.
Chase fell asleep on the couch, curled sideways against House.
Wilson smiled, watching them as House slowly drifted off as well.
He gently shook Chase's shoulder, and the blond jumped a little, waking up.
"Hey. You both fell asleep. I know House's leg doesn't appreciate him sleeping on the couch."
Chase smiled, "thanks, Wilson."
"Not a problem. I should *cough* be going."
Chase nodded, gently shaking House's shoulder.
House grunted, waking up.
"You fell asleep."
"Oh. You leaving?"
"Kay. See you tomorrow."
Chase heard Wilson leave.
Then he turned, and scooted the rest of the way on top of House, nuzzling his face.
He felt House smile.
"How-come you don't explore my face anymore?"
Chase smiled as well.
"I can get around the apartment without thinking, I can get to the office without any trouble, I memorized the layouts of every room I'm in on a regular basis, but if there's one bit of geography I know well… it's this one," he said, running his hand over the older doctor's chest, up his neck, over his face, smiling.
He felt House smile again beneath his hand.
House grunted, panting as he tossed and turned on the bed.
Chase reached over, finding House's arm, and gently placed his hand on his partner's chest.
House curled against him, and he shifted his arm around to encircle House's shoulders.
"I don't like this…"
Chase nodded, scooting closer.
"I know. Neither do I."
The room was silent for a while; just the sound of House's labored breathing echoing through the room.
"It's not as bad as it was… is it?" asked Chase, quietly.
"You're right. It's not as bad," said House, sounding slightly on-edge.
Chase sighed, resting his head on the older doctor's shoulder.
"I just meant… I would never make little of your pain, House. I just wanted to know if Chang's ideas were helping at all. I know it's still bad."
House sighed, gently running his fingers through Chase's hair.
"I don't remember what it feels like," he said, quietly, almost as an apology.
Chase raised his head a little.
"What what feels like?"
"Not being in pain. I've always remembered, but now… it's gone."
Chase was silent for a while.
"I can't remember what a sunset looks like," he said, in the same quiet tone as his partner, "it's only been two years, and I can't remember…"
He broke off.
"Do you remember what colors look like? Blue and white; red, purple, pink, yellow?"
House closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.
"You're standing on the roof of the hospital. There's a giant expanse of blue. It covers everything above you, and the treetops don't even come close to reaching it. It's patterned over with white feathers, horizontal layers of white, gray and blue, extending all the way down to the red brick of the campus in the distance. The sun is just disappearing behind those buildings, and as it sinks, the white slowly turns to a pale pink. The blue becomes purple, and as the sun disappears completely, the pink turns to red, and the purple becomes darker. There's a yellow glow just above the campus building. The sky above is turning to a dark blue, with the clouds just discernable, but by that building, everything is red and yellow and a deep, deep purple. The light slowly fades, and the purple becomes black, and the red and yellow become a lighter shade of it. Everything is dark and silent, except for the faint noise of cars and people on the ground below. The air slowly cools now that the sun isn't there to warm it, and you feel a slight tingling in your shoulders as you start to get cold, and you shiver a little bit. You turn around and walk down the steps, going back to the dry, chemical smelling air of the hospital."
Chase swallowed back the lump in his throat.
"And you walk out the door," he said, wiping his face on his sleeve, voice tight, "and you stand outside the front door of the hospital in the cool, evening air. You feel sleepy, but you've got work to do, so you get on your bike and drive over to the campus. The athletic fields are empty, because the teams have finished practice and gone home for dinner. The track is open, inviting. You go through the gate, and step out onto the asphalt. You start to run, you feel tired after a few minutes, but you keep going. The tiredness fades, and you start to work up a sweat. The sheer exertion feels wonderful, you can feel beads of sweat rolling down the side of your face, your lungs are on fire, your breathing is heavy, but everything feels wonderful and exhilarating. You run until you're shaking with adrenaline and exertion, and then you run some more. You finally stop and lie down on the still-warm track, the surface rough against your skin, as the cool night air blows over you, and the warmth from the track seeps into your bones. You feel like your muscles are on fire, and your heart is racing, but it feels so good. You lie there until you've caught your breath, and your heart has slowed back to normal pace. You get up, and walk back to your bike, the wind as you ride back to the hospital evaporates the sweat, making you shiver a little bit. Then you park and open the door, and you're back to the more mundane parts of life. But that rush is still with you, and you still feel more cheerful than you have all week."
They both know the other is crying, but neither of them mention it.
They know what the other has lost, and they know it is never coming back. And they know that only in memories and words can they experience that which they have lost again.
Only in each other.