Disclaimer: I don't own House.
Gregory House isn't a very sentimental man. He never keeps many souvenirs or trinkets or keepsakes. It's the memories he keeps, you see, just the memories. When James Wilson died in October, he didn't keep anything of his either, except for whatever Wilson left him (which was a load of cash House used for his pills and bike). When Lisa Cuddy broke up with him, he kept nothing but the memories too (and a picture of her and Rachel, but that's not the point). And then there's Robert Chase, Allison Cameron and Eric Foreman, the three original ducklings, first of the genius spawn of the infamous Dr. Gregory House. It is only now that House realizes how similar the three of them were to himself, his best friend, and his ex-girlfriend.
House sees Foreman and remembers Lisa, so administrative, headstrong and proud. Eric is now the Dean of Medicine but it doesn't change a thing. House sees Lisa's ambition in him and he knows that it will help him as it once helped her.
Foreman is Cuddy. He is her ambition and her stubbornness and her pride. He is the one who will say "no", the one who will stand up to the constant insanity. Eric Foreman is Lisa Cuddy because he will always try to play by the rules when ethics are at stake.
House sees Cameron and remembers James, his best friend, no––his only friend. He remembers his kindness and his compassion. Allison is once again Head of Department in the ER, but House remembers her as someone else: the former wife of Dr. Robert Chase, her second husband. In their marriage, he saw himself and Lisa. He saw how their love began and he saw how it ended. He saw that she left Chase because she believed he was too broken to be fixed, because he lied and ended a tyrant's life too soon. Now that he sees her with a third man, he laughs. Wilson had three wives, all of whom he loved, and now Allison has a third.
Cameron is both Wilson and Cuddy. She is Wilson because she will always look for the good in people. She is Cuddy because she fell for a man who she thought she could fix. Allison Cameron is both James Wilson and Lisa Cuddy because she loved too much.
And then House sees Chase, the Australian, his successor. He sees a man hardened by life, who refuses to be too attached to anyone because he is afraid of the pain of loss. He sees a boy who doesn't know his father, a boy devoted to his mother. Robert is now Head of Diagnostic Medicine and House knows who he is.
Chase is House himself. He is his eccentricity and his sarcasm, his indifference and his pride. He is the one who will do anything to solve the puzzle. Robert Chase is Greg House because he is the one who will act like he doesn't care when it's actually tearing him apart inside.
House realizes this as he stands outside the window of his old office. The lights are off but Chase's bag is still there. House laughs, wondering why he didn't see it before, and breaks into his former workplace. He looks at the whiteboard and smiles as he picks up the eraser.
Chase comes back an hour later, a coffee mug in hand, and turns on the lights. He nearly drops his mug when he sees the whiteboard, clear of all symptoms but for one message, written in familiar spidery handwriting.
It's lupus, trust me.
Gregory House isn't a very sentimental man. He never keeps many souvenirs or trinkets or keepsakes. It's the memories he keeps, you see, just the memories. But just this one time, he allows himself to keep one, just one. Chase will never miss that old photo of the ducklings with House, Wilson and Cuddy anyway.