Author's Note: So it's finally finished *celebrates* I would like to thank all of you for your patience, and those who have reviewed thank you for the lovely feedback, it's what keeps me writing. Don't want to keep you long, so please enjoy the final chapter of Work Days~
Disclaimer: I don't watch enough tv to even attempt to steal this show and take credit for it. xD
Warnings: We've been through this before. :P
It had been a week.
Seven days since House had written his list.
Seven days since Chase had spoken to him outside of work.
Seven days since Cameron had obtained a permanently smug look on her face.
Seven days since Foreman stopped questioning everyone as to what was going on to cause all the tension between his coworkers.
Seven days since Cuddy had noticed the lack in communication between two particular doctors.
Seven days since Wilson had asked his friend why he was looking so morose over a piece of paper.
Seven days...and House was sick of it.
The entrance of the Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital was bustling with activity. The receptionist's hands flew over the keys while she talked non-stop on her headset; a constant stream of 'one moment sir's and 'I'll connect you now..'s. Nurses pushed wheelchairs through the crowd as if previously choreographed. Visitors were coming and going at a surprising speed, almost as fast as the patients that headed for the Free Clinic. It went without say that this was one of the busier days the hospital had seen this year (almost as bad as the downtown bus accident the staff had faced two months ago).
However, the crowd wasn't so distracted that they missed the two men kissing by the front desk.
Chase bit back a yawn as he left the NICU, instead pushing dank blond locks back from his face and changing his course to the direction of the clinic. He'd been staying at the hospital the entire week and it was only by luck that Cuddy, or anyone from his team, hadn't found out yet; he'd already had to bribe the janitor to keep him from telling House. If the news leaked out that he'd practically moved into one of the small on-call rooms (not the one that he and House favored) everybody would be demanding to know why the young, foreign doctor was forced to do such a thing...because of course he wouldn't have done it by choice.
Was he short on cash and didn't have enough money to pay his rent? Was he evicted for another reason? Why? What dark secret did sweet Dr. Chase possess that could trigger his landlord to throw him out on the streets? Or worse...what if it was a fight with a girlfriend? Could he be in an abusive relationship? Did he just find the courage to leave, even if there was no where else to go?
Can I help?
If one person found out that he hadn't left the hospital in seven days it would only be a matter of time before the entire staff knew. The nurses would gossip to everyone whilst simultaneously extending an invitation to him to stay at their place. Next would be Cuddy who would frown upon it and drill him: "Are you sure that you're okay Dr. Chase?", before offering him her couch. Foreman and Cameron would corner him just as he was leaving the Dean of Medicine's office, the both of them would be unsuccessful in their search for answers. Foreman because his sympathy for 'the rich doctor's son' could be balanced on the tip of a pin, and Cameron....well, she was just a tiresome, self-righteous bitch. The blonde never told her anything anyway, so why start now? By the time Wilson found him, he'd be too drained for pleasantries and the oncologist's well-known empathy would pick up on it, meaning he'd get a slap on the shoulder and encouraging smile...thankfully no pre-rehearsed words of comfort.
Then would be House...
Just thinking about the older doctor made his heart ache and his eyes burn. He had yet to shed a tear over the whole situation though; it was unjustified to cry for something you'd lost when you never really had it in the first place after all. So he didn't cry and he passed off the pain in his chest as heartburn...cause someone's heart couldn't literally break. At least not physically, (medical school had taught him that much) but there was still that nagging concern that this psychological symptom might never go away. He hoped it did. How pathetic would it be for someone with as much promise as him to waste their life away mourning the metaphorical loss of Gregory House? It could be a hit comedy...something worthy of Shakespeare in its drama.
A dry chuckle passed his lips at that thought, it seemed he was only capable of being bitter and depressed these days. Something else that he had picked up from being in a relationship with House, like sleeping in and leaving his dirty laundry on the floor instead of putting it in his hamper. It was impossible to avoid changing yourself when you hung around someone that cynical & manipulative for any amount of time and he'd finally accepted that he shouldn't expect House to change at all...not even for his lover. Not that he wanted the diagnostician to change, it was the snarky attitude that first drew him in after all, and he didn't mind that he himself had changed slightly. He was more confident in his abilities in his everyday life, stood up for himself, and it just so happened that his mild admiration for the older man's undeniably ingenious medical skills quickly morphed into some sick, twisted, kind of love.
Oh god...he was in love with House. Not that he hadn't realized it earlier, it was what made him stay in the relationship for so long in the first place. What made him risk it all and kiss the graying doctor that first night of many. Why he threw out so many possibilities during differentials, so many that it was embarrassing, all for a twitch of a smile in his direction. It was everything.
The tears were much harder to hold back now.
His heart ached.
He looked like shit.
That was what first struck House when he caught sight of the Australian's greasy, blonde head of hair moving in the crowd. At first he didn't think that it could be him, after all Chase was always a stickler for personal hygiene, but then he turned. Those sea-green eyes couldn't possibly belong to anyone else, though he wished the exhaustion & pain that was so visible in those depths did.
He seemed distracted, avoiding several collisions with the hacking & sneezing patients at the very last second, stumbling over himself more than once. Everyone must be blind to not notice that something was wrong with him. House bit his lip, wondering for the thousandth time this week whether this was a good idea, tempted to go back and hide in the recesses of his office like the troll he knew he was. He leaned heavily on his cane, ready to turn on his heel and run when Chase paused in his steps and it took him a moment to realize that he had been spotted.
Too late for the coward's retreat then.
There were less steps between them than House previously thought as he watched Chase cross the expanse of tiled floor between them. He had schooled his face as well, straightened up some, it was probably how he'd made it through the week without anyone bothering him. The diagnostician may not have noticed if he hadn't seen the mask slip only seconds before.
"You've been avoiding me.." might as well state a well-known fact in his usual fashion.
"No I haven't. We work together, how can I avoid you if we see each other everyday?" it was the practiced response that gave him away.
"You haven't been by my apartment this week."
"House...I-" he held up a hand to stop him.
"I know why.."
House looked down at his cane, brows furrowed in silent determination. This is was the only chance to salvage their relationship, this is where he had failed Stacy. Too lost in his own stubbornness to realize that something may actually be wrong. He realized it this time though and he hoped he wasn't too late.
"What are you talking about House?"
"My name is Greg.."
"Hous- I.." he bit his lip "Greg, what are you talking about?"
"I know why I didn't want them to know, figured it out last week actually..."
Chase looked about ready to interrupt him or run away. He could actually see the muscles tense in the blonde's shoulders, see him shift more weight on his right foot in preparation to flee. Watched how the gears were obviously turning in his mind, how he licked his lips, ready to say something...anything.
House felt something in his gut clench, followed by an odd icy sensation. Was his lover afraid of him? No...Chase was too strong for that, it had to be something else then. Had the Australian change his mind? Did he finally come to his senses & realize that dating House just wasn't worth it more. He stubbornly reminded himself that they had never actually dated. Had never been anywhere outside of the hospital or his own small apartment. Hell, he didn't even go to Chase's place in fear that he'd form an attachment. Afraid that he may actually start liking him, making it all the more harder for when the arrangement eventually came to a close.
But it wasn't like anymore. It was love.
And he didn't want this to end.
"It's too quiet."
The word was whispered in mild disbelief. What the hell was House talking about, he wasn't making any sense. He couldn't help but entertain the idea that the doctor had finally 'lost it', but the idea passed as quickly as it had come. This wasn't a time for humor.
"You talk in your sleep. It's too quiet in my apartment now."
Chase's lips fell apart, jaw hanging loose. Was this House's roundabout way of telling him that he was missed? The diagnostician never admitted his feelings to anyone. Sure, he yelled at people when he was angry and tortured them if he was frustrated by their actions. He never showed that he cared though, it wasn't in his vocabulary..but here he was, muttering something that showed he did have feelings. That he may actually care for someone.
"I can stop by after work today."
It wasn't a confession of love.
But it would do for now.
Sorry if it's out of character ._. Plus I would like to apologize for the not-so-great ending...they aren't my forte.