Chapters 1-18 by You're out of your vulcan mind
Chapters 19+ by Mara-DragonMaster
Tritter was not bound by the 'ground rules' Chase had set on House, something that House thought was completely unfair. He had considered complaining– until Chase began talking.
As House listened to Chase's story his face became a mask, only his eyes betraying his shock. He'd expected something bad, given Chase's condition. Possibly something embarrassing, given his refusal to talk about it; but never something like this. Chase's story was something taken from some angst-ridden drama, like a movie or maybe a crime novel. This couldn't have possibly happened to someone here– someone he knew. Especially not to this particular person.
His mind flashed back to that day. He remembered approaching Chase, that Chase had been leaving, and he tried to recall if there had been any indication that there was something wrong. He frowned; Chase had seemed pale, nervous. His eyes had been too wide, and he wouldn't look directly at House when he talked. When he had blamed Chase for stealing his nametag, Chase had handed it over without a word. His hand had been shaking. House wanted to hit himself over the head; he should have been paying more attention! He could have saved Chase. He had been distracted by Cuddy. If she hadn't come along, if he had been more concerned about Chase's condition instead of his clinic hours then… then what? He might've been shot, innocent bystanders killed. Had it worked out better this way? House listened to Chase's description of his two day captivity, and knew. He should've stopped Chase from leaving the hospital.
Chase's face remained impassive as he recounted his ordeal. He felt like he was describing someone else, maybe a patient. At least it made it easier to talk about.
"I guess… I passed out, eventually. When I came too I was buried. I tried to dig myself out… and I heard your voice?" Chase looked questioningly at Tritter.
The detective nodded. "Yeah, some kids saw Mr. Manning digging in his yard, and their parents called us in. You're lucky to be alive, you know."
Chase nodded mutely, and then risked a glance at House. He was waiting for the ridicule, for some sarcastic comment, anything. But House didn't look like he was going to do any of that. He looked… sad. And so angry.
Chase was surprised. Maybe House felt guilty about sending him down to the clinic, or for not noticing something was wrong when Chase had been forced out of the hospital– that his amazing brain hadn't picked up the clues. Chase hoped House wasn't pitying him. That would be the worst thing possible. House never pitied anyone. But the look in House's eyes…
Tritter asked a few more questions, and then said that the court date was in a couple of weeks. "I don't think we'll have any trouble sticking it to this guy." Tritter said confidently, rising from his chair. Glancing to one side he looked for House's reaction, and smirked to himself at how shell-shocked the doctor seemed to be. Nodding to Chase and Eloise, Tritter left.
The spell on House broke at Tritter's smirk, a flash of fire entering his eyes. Quickly standing up House grabbed his cane and left the room. Chase sank back into the bed, closing his eyes and releasing a slow breath.
Eloise sensed he wanted to be alone for a bit. Standing she set her hand next to his on the bed. "I'll go find the nurse so you can sign out, alright?"
Leaving the room she checked both ways, and catching sight of the cane disappearing around a corner she hurried after it. She quickly caught up to House, who'd been heading to the elevators.
"He's going to need help." Eloise said as she came up behind him.
"He's got you." House stated, entering the elevators.
"I don't count." Eloise followed him in. The lights flashed above the door as they switched floors. "I am here because he needed to recover and process what happened. He was such a mess before. But now he's back here and he's finally told someone. Some one he actually knows. You. He needs support."
"You were running interference before." House accused. The doors opened and he got out. Eloise had to hurry to catch up to him.
"I didn't want anyone forcing him to talk about what happened before he was ready." Eloise pointed out. "I know how you can be."
House refused to look at her. "So why didn't you tell me yourself?"
She sighed. Yep; he was ticked. "It wasn't my place. He didn't want people to know and I thought he deserved his privacy and the right to tell you himself. Look." She grabbed House's arm, stopping them in the middle of the hallway. "I may not have handled this right. But this isn't about me or you. Chase needs your support. Now don't treat him different, but you can be a little understanding."
"You just said not to treat him differently." He leaned down, getting in her face. "Make up your mind."
"You know what I mean." She folded her arms. House pushed past her and kept moving. "Why are you walking away?"
He kept walking.
Realization hit her, and her eyes widened. Taking in a sharp breath she went after him. "Oh no. You're not going to run away from this. This isn't… This can't be like with Jamie." She grabbed his arm, and he spun around and faced her as though to retaliate, but he said nothing– and there was fear in his eyes.
"I don't know what to do." He admitted.