Chapters 1-18 by You're out of your vulcan mind
Chapters 19+ by Mara-DragonMaster
"I still don't think he should have been allowed to put so many rules on this."
"It's the only way we were going to get him to agree to let us do anything." Foreman argued. "Besides, I think he was entirely reasonable, four entirely reasonable and expected requests."
House glared sideways at Foreman. "It's attitudes like that that get us into these kinds of situations."
"What situation?" Foreman spread his hands, a look of disbelief on his face. "You only have to tell Wilson, no– get to tell Wilson. Chase and I still don't really understand why he needs to know any of this. I have to tell Cameron. I don't understand why you're complaining. Oh wait… it's you. I should be worried if you're not complaining."
Over pizza, Foreman and House had managed to get Chase to agree that certain people– Cameron, Cuddy and Wilson– had to know what had happened to him because they worked so closely with him, and it was important to avoid confrontations like he'd had earlier that day with House and the wheelchair. Chase pointed out that House would be the only person he worked with that would get him into confrontations like he'd had earlier that day, but he eventually conceded to their reasoning. However, he had laid down some rules.
Rule Number One: Foreman and House had to tell their assigned persons before Chase arrived at work, to give their assigned persons time to understand.
Rule Number Two: Touching, hugging or any other good intentioned attempts at consolation were a strict no-no, and Chase was to be allowed to do things for himself: get his own coffee and lunch, and so on.
Rule Number Three: Chase was not to be cornered and forced to talk about IT.
Rule Number Four: And most importantly, no one else was supposed to know. Chase hadn't been entirely convinced that even Wilson needed to be informed, but because of House's eloquent arguments ("I'm gonna do it any way.") he folded.
Foreman was not looking forward to telling Cameron. He himself had been somewhat prepared to hear Chase's story. He had already sort of figured out what had happened, based on Chase's reactions throughout the day and what some of the nurses from Princeton General had told him; but he had thought it had been just a random one-time attack. He never would have imagined the truth. How did one break such news to their colleague?
Foreman and House split up once they reached the third floor. House headed to Wilson's office, and Foreman headed to the conference room.
Cameron was already there, reading a newspaper and drinking coffee.
Foreman paused in the doorway, unsure, then boldly stepped in. "Hello, Cameron."
Foreman went to the cupboard and grabbed a coffee cup. "Nice morning."
Cameron glanced out at the window, then at Foreman, perfectly shaped eyebrows pulling together. "I… guess so." She looked at him curiously; Foreman wasn't one to talk about the weather. "Is something up?"
Foreman stared at the bottom of his cup. Cameron stood, ready to offer comfort if necessary.
"Yeah." He returned the cup to the cupboard and went to sit down across from her, so she returned to her seat.
"So." he started. "I went over to Chase's apartment last night."
Oh, Chase. Cameron thought to herself. She started to pick up her newspaper again. Chase had found Eloise. He had someone to care about him already, so she didn't need to waste her time. Still, what right did he have to start looking around? He was with her– and why would he confide in someone he'd known for obviously a very short period of time and not in her? Cameron shifted. "Oh, yeah… how was that?"
"Mhmm." She tried to appear disinterested.
He looked at her. "What do you think happened to Chase?"
"I haven't given it much thought. Do you know what happened?"
"Yeah, and I just wanted to know what you thought, before I told you."
"Oh, NOW somebody is going to tell me what is going on?"
"Is everything alright?" Foreman looked concerned.
"Everything is peachy." She threw down the newspaper, folded her arms on the table, and stared at him. "So what happened to Chase? According to Princeton Gen he was in a car crash."
"A car crash?" Foreman frowned. Chase's wounds were hard to mistake for car crash injuries. "No. Wait, they sent in his medical records from Princeton Gen?"
"No. They just sent in his treatment schedule and a brief outline of the cause of the injuries. No details. I don't understand why he would be so upset about a stupid car crash that he wouldn't tell us about it."
Foreman sighed. "He wasn't in a car crash." Cameron seemed upset, and that just made his job ten times harder.
"Earth to Jimmy." House waved his hand in front of Wilson's face. Wilson just looked at him in shock with his mouth wide open. Eyes squinted in rapt fascination House stared at the open mouth, then moved to close it, but Wilson snapped out of his daze and pulled away.
"H-how… Oh my gosh." Wilson shook his head. House had delivered the story about Chase in a very Housian manner: brisk, blunt, and to the point, with no preamble to prepare his poor audience. Wilson was more than a little surprised. "That's terrible!"
"And stalker dude is now making him go to court." House stated, standing slowly. "His lawyers are very good, got it so the confession and the bodies of the other victims can't be used in court as evidence."
Wilson was more or less recovered, so he stored away his shock and horror in a little box in the back of his mind– which was someday destined to explode in a spectacular array of great magnitude. Of that House was certain. "Didn't you say there were thirteen bodies?" Wilson said.
"How can that be thrown out? Thirteen people, and Chase?"
House started to pace slowly. "Some loop hole. They say he's mentally incapacitated, that he falsely confessed to the attacks and murders because he was under duress and he wanted to become famous. I dunno…"
"But the police… They've got to have evidence, something."
"They've got plenty of stuff, but only for Chase. And they can link one of the bodies to Chase, but the rest…"
Wilson held up his hand, blinking. "Wait, one of the bodies was linked to Chase?"
"Dr. Steward. He and Chase got in a fight during that convention thingy, remember?" Wilson nodded, and House continued. "He was the thirteenth body. They think he was killed for revenge, probably right after he left the convention."
"Does Chase know?" Wilson asked.
"Yeah, Eloise has an 'in' in the department, so she's been able to keep him– and now us– updated. Which is good, because usually the police wouldn't tell us diddley-squat."
"And Eloise is leaving in two weeks?"
House nodded. "A few days after the trial. She's moving back to New York, found out yesterday she got a job there at New York Presbyterian Hospital."
Leaning back in his chair, Wilson folded his hands in his lap. "How is Chase doing?"
"He says he doesn't want to talk about it. He just wants to move on." House muttered, turning as he paced so he stood in front of Wilson's desk.
"Well that's understandable–"
"You're scared?" More shock to be stored away in Wilson's little box. "Did you just admit you're scared? 'Cause now I'm scared."
"Did I st-st-stutter? Do I haf a lithp?" House retorted. "Yes. I'm scared."
"Why? Oh– Jamie." Wilson moved to reach out consolingly, but House glared at him until he sat down again. "It's not going to be like Jamie. Chase won't be like Jamie."
House had the 'aura of doom' about him. "You don't even know, you weren't around when Jamie–"
"You told me enough about it that I can honestly say that Chase is not like Jamie."
"Have you seen pictures? Elly might still have a few. If Jamie had been a guy she would have looked just like Chase and vise versa. Jamie didn't want to talk about what happened to her, and I didn't make her, and– well, you know what happened then. Now Chase doesn't want to talk about it, and I just don't kn–"
House looked at Wilson, shocked that he would stop him in mid-rant. Wilson continued. "I don't want the Four Horsemen to come thundering from the clouds. Which is exactly what would happen if you, Dr. House, say you don't know what to do. You do know what to do, you just don't want to do it. Eloise has been his crutch. He's going to be losing that crutch in a couple of weeks. You need to teach him how to walk again. Just– be there for him."
House nodded. He limped to the door and was about to hobble out but he turned around. He looked at his cane, then back towards Wilson. "Your metaphors really suck, Jimmy."