Chapters 1-18 by You're out of your vulcan mind
Chapters 19+ by Mara-DragonMaster
They drove home in silence, both too embarrassed to talk about the night's events. When they finally pulled up to Eloise's apartment Chase stopped the car, and they sat in silence for a while.
"D'you want to come up?" she finally said to break the silence. He looked at her in surprise and she quickly amended, "I mean– you really need to put ice on that." She motioned to his eye and cheek, which were swollen and starting to purple.
Once they entered her apartment she made Chase sit while she checked his eye.
"That looks painful."
"I'm sorry," she leaned in and kissed the spot tenderly. He liked the feeling of her soft lips against his skin, her gentle hands– even her smell. She smelled like raspberries. As she started to pull away he leaned forward and captured her mouth with his own. She stiffened slightly, eyes wide with shock; but Chase was gentle, his lips soft against hers. Her eyes rolled and closed as she relaxed and followed in kind, a breath leaving her. His hands slid up her arms to her shoulders, where they lifted to catch her face. Her hands moved to his neck. His blond hair was thick and soft, perfect for running her fingers through.
Their kisses started to get more and more urgent. "Wait…" she finally gasped against his mouth. "The ice… for your eye."
Chase shook his head, mouth moving against hers as he spoke. "Forget it."
"It'll swell shut." Gently she pulled back, her gaze soft. Her cheeks were flushed. "I'll be right back."
As she left his side Chase sighed and leaned back in the kitchen chair, running a hand through his hair.
What the heck had just happened?
The remainder of the evening was spent in her living room, eating pretzels and nuts and drinking cherry coke while they talked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company.
The bad thing was that he found himself comparing her to Cameron the whole night through. Every time he noticed what he was doing he would try to stop, but he just couldn't help himself. Eloise was cool with talking as well as listening, whilst Cameron tended to try to take complete control– which meant that she was either talking about her own life and problems, or demanding that he talk to her about his 'feelings'. But he loved Cameron, and that went a long way. He just felt more comfortable with Cameron, and– he knew what to expect from her. By the time he and Eloise started to drift off he decided that while he would enjoy what ever the rest of this date had to offer, he would no longer go 'astray' from Cameron and he would try to pursue a more serious relationship with her. With that in mind his eyes slid shut of their own accord, and he drifted off to sleep.
Chase woke up to unfamiliar surroundings. As his mind grappled with sleep he became aware of someone laying against him on the couch. Slowly looking down he saw the peacefully sleeping Eloise nuzzled up next to him, her hair loose about her shoulders, her shoes on the floor. Memories of the evening after the party came back to him and he smiled at the small form. Looking at the clock he realized he would have to be going to work in two hours. If he was careful he could leave without waking her; he'd gotten enough practice sneaking out with Cameron. Carefully he scooted away from Eloise and laid her back against the cushions, then moved to the edge of the couch. He put his feet on the ground, and was about to stand up when she started to stir.
"Mmm, wha's going on?"
"Shh. I was just leaving, go ahead back to sleep."
"Why?" She was still half asleep and blinked at him warily.
"I have to go to work."
She sat up. "I'll make some food."
"I've got food at home."
"I still owe you for rescuing me, the least I could do is give you some breakfast before you run off." She leaned forward.
"I think you paid me back last night. And then some." He said, indicating the now empty snack bowls and the blanket she had covered them with when he'd fallen asleep.
"Well then…" she stretched, "You owe me, and we can't have that. So why don't you make me breakfast?"
"Well look who finally showed up."
"I'm half an hour early." Chase replied, checking the clock. "What are you doing here?"
House narrowed his eyes in puzzlement at the blond doctor. "I work here."
"But… you're early."
"And you're late."
"No I'm not, it's only–"
"If I am here before you, then you are late."
Chase rolled his eyes and sat down at the table. Cameron and Foreman came in soon after and stopped dead when they saw House.
"A-are you early?"
"Why yes I am, and you two are right on time." House smiled at them, somehow managing to pull off a fake sincere grin. Chase rolled his eyes; he was late, but they were on time?
"Man, what happened to your eye?" Foreman asked in wonderment.
Chase was now sporting a very impressive black eye as a reminder of his evening with Eloise.
"Bar fight." House interrupted before Chase could explain.
Cameron snorted disbelievingly and Foreman looked expectantly at Chase for the real answer.
"It was a misunderstanding." He said dismissively.
"And how did you end up having a 'misunderstanding'?"
"It isn't a big deal."
"Chase." Cuddy poked her head into the conference room. "My office. Now."
Chase nodded in resignation and followed her out. Foreman watched in surprise, and Cameron turned on their boss in concern and worry.
"You know what happened." She confronted.
House watched as Chase and Cuddy waited for the elevator. "Was that a question?"
"Ah. Well in that case you're right. I do." He limped out of the room and headed for the service elevator. Cameron and Foreman followed quickly.
"Where are you going?"
House put his finger to his mouth in a shushing motion. Cameron and Foreman both sighed and rolled their eyes before following him into the elevator.
"Did I say you could come?"
"We want to know what Cuddy has to say to Chase as well." Foreman stated matter of factly.
"How is your eye?"
"It's fine, thanks."
Cuddy motioned to the chair in front of her desk and Chase sat down uncomfortably; he knew why he was there.
"Look Chase," Cuddy sat down in her chair and folded her hands on top of her desk. "Normally I don't care what you do on your own time, but… what were you thinking?! Picking a fight with a very respected Doctor in the middle of a hospital convention. At least it was another hospital's convention, but still, do you know what that does to our reputation?"
"I'm sorry. It was a misunderstanding, and I can promise that it won't happen again."
"What on earth possessed you to punch Dr. Steward?"
"He did hit me first." Chase protested.
"So two wrongs make a right?"
"He was acting unstable and was hurting Dr. Peney. I did what I did to get her out of that situation."
Cuddy blinked, seemingly taken aback; she hadn't actually witnessed the fight, and so was unaware of Eloise's role in the event. "Oh, I– I see."
"I understand my actions were inexcusable, and I am very sorry for any damage I may have done to the hospital's reputation."
"No, no Chase. It's totally understandable. I will take care of this." Her look became soft. "You should get that looked at." She said, pointing to her own eye.
Chase nodded silently and moved to leave her office.
"Oh, and Chase," Cuddy called, and he turned back to her. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have blown up like that."
He gave her that smile of his, which was still brilliant despite the dampening effect of his black eye. "It's fine, Dr. Cuddy."
"Wow." House announced with a bright-eyed smile, impressed and amused.
"You were listening?" Chase asked in annoyance as he passed.
"YEAH I was, and really I've got to say, wow. Spectacular performance back there."
"Have you ever heard of a 'private conversation'?"
"You got off scott-free for embarrassing the hospital and you even got Cuddy to apologize to you. You're good."
Chase answered with a 'look', and House limped away, smirking. Cameron and Foreman both caught up to Chase.
"So. You suck up to Cuddy too. Who won't you suck up too?" Foreman asked as Chase quickly started to walk away, hoping to avoid their questions and comments.
"I don't suck up."
"That back there," Foreman pointed back to Cuddy's office "Was blatant sucking up."
"It's what he was trained to do." Cameron stated.
Chase stopped and gave a look that resembled open-mouthed disbelief at his two colleagues, trying to figure out what their problem with him was. Especially Cameron. "I punched out a doctor in the middle of a hospital convention, and then I took responsibility for my actions. You have a problem with responsibility?"
Foreman frowned. "Hey, this isn't about us."
"You only took responsibility because you knew she'd let you off the hook." Cameron stated.
Maybe the whole going for a more serious relationship thing wasn't such a great idea. Shaking his head with a sound of disgust he turned to head off to NICU, when he checked the clock and saw the time. He paused, and sighed. Dang.
Cameron flinched with surprise as a flying name tag barely missed her nose, on its collision course with the back of Chase's head, but she was even more surprised when Chase turned around and caught it.
House scowled from the doorway he'd been hiding in.
"Okay, how did you do it?" he demanded, limping out into the hall.
Chase looked at him with a poker face. "What?"
"Nametag; that's the second time you've caught it, even though it was thrown without warning, and you were facing the other way. And this time it looked like you were expecting it."
"Don't know what you mean."
"You stopped and sighed before you caught it. You knew it was coming. I want to know how."
"Ten thirty-five." Chase pointed at the clock on the wall. "You work on a schedule, and I've been catching these for a while. You only noticed because of yesterday."
"So I always throw the nametag at 10:35?" House frowned; he hadn't noticed this pattern before.
"You throw the nametag exactly thirty-four minutes and twenty-three seconds after you come in." Chase said, putting his hands and said nametag in his pocket.
"Give or take." Chase shrugged.
"And you expect this to happen tomorrow?"
House blinked in mock surprise. "Oh, so when will the nametag be thrown?"
"Either thirty-one minutes and hmm… forty-five seconds or thirty-six minutes and fifteen seconds. Probably the thirty-six."
"Why the thirty-six?"
"Because, you'd want to make me paranoid, waiting for the nametag to fly out of nowhere and hit me."
House glowered and limped away.
Cameron looked at Chase questioningly. "He's going to throw his name tag at you thirty-six minutes and fifteen seconds after he comes in?"
"Ten seconds. He'll try to surprise me." Chase said, the corner of his mouth lifting. A teasing, amused light sparkled in his eyes for a moment.
Cameron shook her head and started to walk away.
She looked back at him, her gaze patient and tolerant.
"Can we talk? Later I mean."
"I'm kind of busy."
He tipped his chin. "Of course."
They both walked away from each other. Cameron headed back up to diagnostics. Glancing back, Chase watched her for a second, wondering how long he would have to wait for her to think of him as more than her Tuesday night microwave pizza. With a sigh he headed to the clinic.
He had decided that Chase was getting into too much trouble and forgetting the rules; it was time that He took a bit more control. Watching the blond doctor come to the check-in desk and flirt with the nurse at the station He felt a surge of anger; Chase was getting careless, acting like those popular jocks at school who flirted with all of the girls.
He saw the young doctor take the first folder off the desk and open it.
"Mr. Smith?" Chase called.
He stood up and smiled.
"Mr. Smith, would you follow me please?" His boy smiled pleasantly and motioned to the exam room.
Now was the time.