Chapters 1-18 by You're out of your vulcan mind
Chapters 19+ by Mara-DragonMaster
Strange surroundings assaulted his senses as he woke up– sharp, sterile smells, bright lights, rhythmic beeping– Trying to contain his confused panic Chase looked around, taking in the sounds and smells and sights: hospital. But not his hospital. He started to lift his right hand and discovered that he could not move his fingers or wrist– they were immobile. Looking down he saw that his hand was cocooned in plaster and gauze. What about his left hand? There was a weight on it too. Turning his head slightly on the pillow he saw the smaller hand that grasped his. The smaller hand that was attached to the sleeping body of Eloise. She was sitting in a chair, bent over so that her head and free arm rested on the bed, close to his hand. Chase frowned for a second, lifting his head a little. How did she get there? His frown deepened as he struggled to think back, and then he remembered… he'd woken up before, and she had been there… and… He groaned as his head fell back, the force of his memories knocking him back.
His moan stirred Eloise who quickly woke up. Lifting herself she blinked rapidly, trying to dispel the sleep from her eyes. When she realized he was awake she relaxed.
"Hey there." She smiled softly at him, and he weakly reciprocated, though he refrained from saying anything just yet. His throat hurt too much.
Eloise pushed a piece of loose brown hair behind her ear as she sat up. "How are you feeling?"
Still reeling from the assault of memories Chase closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath. She squeezed his hand gently, her eyes softening in sympathy.
"It's just that… It's really…"
She squeezed his hand again, wincing at the hoarse sound of his voice. "I get it. It's… it'll be hard to talk about."
He nodded. They were silent for a moment, both waiting for his mind to clear. Finally he opened his eyes and took a deep breath, his expression now composed, and he turned on the pillow to look at her. Licking his lips he asked, "What's the damage report?"
There was a glimmer in her eye, recognizing his move to distance himself, so she played along. "There was limited internal damage. You lost a lot of blood, but… thankfully… it was so cold outside that the blood froze on your skin, acting as a temporary clot. Here is your chart." She put his folder on his lap; she was still holding his relatively undamaged hand and it appeared that he had no intention of letting go anytime soon, which was fine with her. "We can release you this afternoon, but you need someone to stay with you for a while." She paused. "Is there someone you want us to call?"
Chase shook his head, looking down at the folder in his lap with lips pressed tightly together.
"What about Dr. Cameron?"
His eyes widened. "No. You can't call her." What would she think of him– she already thought of him as a pansy, and now? After what happened to him? She'd be disgusted, or worse yet she'd pity him. Cameron-pity was not something he wanted. Not now.
"Alright." Eloise nodded, though she squinted one eye in puzzlement as she studied him. She had thought that Cameron would be the first person he's want to call, given his feeling for her. "But we need someone to stay with you for at least a week. Maybe more." She looked at him pleadingly; there had to be at least one person. He was young, nice, and hot. Definitely one of the sexiest men she'd ever met. He had to have at least one friend! But he looked down away from her, averting his eyes, and she realized that– he didn't. She felt a pang, and just like that came to a decision. "Listen. Normally I wouldn't do this, but– I handed in my two weeks notice yesterday. And the two weeks thing is just technical. If you want me to, I'll leave early and stay with you."
He looked up in surprise. "You don't have to..."
"You told me you don't have anyone else. And I want to."
A look of intense gratefulness entered his eyes, but he was still hesitant. "Why– did you quit?"
"I have you to thank for that." She smiled at him, the corner of her mouth pulled up teasingly. Glancing down he mumbled an apology. She quickly amended the statement. "I was stuck here. I couldn't move on. I was afraid. And you, just by being there– by being you– helped me get past that."
His look was questioning, but he accepted her answer. He had too many emotions fighting inside of him to press further, and the pain medication wasn't making thinking any clearer.
"Your boss, Dr. Cuddy, gave you a week off to recover. After that you'll be working half days until Dr. Travis says you can go back full time. Dr. Travis will be assigned your case when I leave." Eloise leaned in ever so slightly, confidentially. "She's a real sweetheart, and a real good friend of mine."
"House won't let me have a week off, and he doesn't do 'half days'." He rasped quietly.
"I think I can persuade House to do half days. And he'll leave you alone for this week. I've got him distracted." Her mouth quirked in a sideways smile, her eyes twinkling. "Perfumed anonymous love notes to Wilson. It'll keep him busy for at least a week."
Chase stared at her, and then a slow smile spread across his face. If House was distracted by Wilson's love life he would probably not even miss Chase.
That thought sobered him quickly; would anyone miss him?
House grumbled all the way to the hospital. Cuddy had called him and his team in on an emergency: some rich donator had collapsed during a conference and his team had been assigned. Why some other doctor couldn't take the case was beyond him.
"H'Ookay. Boring case, old man, seizure. Differential." He turned his back to his ducklings to study the whiteboard.
Cameron and Foreman stared.
"That's it?" Cameron asked.
Foreman shook his head. "It could be anything."
House turned back to the other doctors and made an 'I'm waiting gesture', then stopped and frowned. "Where's the other one?"
Foreman's brows scrunched.
Cameron stared. "Huh?"
"You complain about how it's not enough, you complain that it's too much, and the blonde one plays along with whatever I say. It's the only way anything moves along around here." House explained.
"His jacket is here." Cameron pointed.
"Unless his jacket is making a differential diagnosis, I don't care. If it is, then… well…" House frowned thoughtfully. "That would just be weird, but at least helpful."
Foreman shrugged. "Maybe he's with the patient."
"And maybe he is wrangling kangaroos, but what we know definitely is that he is not here. And the patient is sick. And…" House looked at the patient's folder again. "It is Adult GM1 gangliosidoses. Biopsy his liver and come back to tell me I'm right."
He hobbled out of the room. Even though it was the weekend Wilson had come in to deal with a patient who was having problems with the new treatment he'd put her on. Wilson would help him with his wombat problems.
"I have a patient." Was the immediate response as he entered the room.
House stopped by the desk and loomed over the two seated at it. "It's a life or death situation."
Wilson looked at him disbelievingly. "Whose?"
"You're questioning a life or death situation? How heartless are you?" Wilson still stared at him. "My wombat got loose." The patient who'd been sitting at Wilson's desk looked up confused. House winked. "Don't worry, it doesn't bite. Help me find it now, Wilson."
Wilson apologized to his patient and excused himself. "We'll reschedule for tomorrow." He promised. Then he glared angrily at House as he walked outside onto the balcony with him.
"Have you seen Chase?" House asked.
"No, I haven't seen Chase." Wilson answered patiently. "Perhaps he has the day off and is spending it like normal people? Away from work. It's a Sunday."
"His coat is here."
"So he left it here."
"What? It's possible."
Wilson narrowed his eyes and pointed at his friend. "You want there to be some mysterious reason so you can mess with Chase. But there isn't. He left his coat, probably because he was in a hurry to get away from you. He's probably enjoying his day off. And you really need to leave him alone."
House huffed in annoyance, then returned to the problem at hand. "He isn't answering my pages."
House rolled his eyes and Wilson went back into his office. House followed him. "It's wrong."
"It's normal. You treat him like a dog, running him up and down and into the ground with errands and odd jobs that don't really need doing. Sooner or later he is going to start ignoring you. It's like the boy who cried wolf."
"Or the Doc who called Wombat." House added flippantly.
Wilson shook his head, picking up some papers. "Whatever. Just let him be for a day. You can bother him on Monday."
House was about to come up with a retort but the words died in his mouth. A pink envelope was lying on Wilson's desk, unopened and unaddressed, and… House sniffed; he could smell it from here. Perfumed. He grabbed it and slipped it into his pocket.
"You're right. Bye."
"Whoa, stop." Wilson squinted at House. "What happened?"
"You're– right?" House put on his best innocent face. That made Wilson suspicious.
"What did you do to my desk?"
House gave an evil smile and sauntered out of the office. Wilson would be occupied for a while trying to find the non-existent booby trap, per past experiences with his crotchety friend. Plenty of time to figure out what was in the envelope.
Eloise walked into his room, smiling. "Things worked out. You'll be able to go back home this afternoon if I go with you. You also have to sign up for at least two Psychologist appointments a month. Just for a while." She tipped her head. "How're you feeling?"
Sitting up in his bed eating jello, Chase glanced at the room and then made eyes to emphasize his desire to be gone. "I just can't wait to go home."
She nodded. "Well, you can sign out soon. Dr. Travis will be coming in to talk with you and then we should be able to go."
Chase sighed and tipped his head back into his pillow; he was tired of being talked to, tired of being a patient, tired with everything in general.
He appreciated Eloise's efforts to make everything easier; he wondered what Cameron would do if she'd been his doctor instead. She'd probably treat him like a regular patient, but give him a nice helping of pity on the side. He was suddenly glad he was at Princeton General. He could barely stand his situation as it was, and the only thing holding him together were the nice painkillers that made everything fuzzy. Add Cameron pity and no amount of painkillers in the world would make things seem even remotely close to all right.
Dr Travis came in. She smiled politely before going into detail about his treatment and what sorts of prescriptions and therapy he would have to take to physically heal. Chase sat in his bed and listened closely, nodding every one in a while.
The final tally on the injuries he sustained from his two day of captivity were this: a broken nose, a dislocated right shoulder, a hairline fracture in his right ankle, a torn ACL in his left knee (sustained from struggling with Edward during one of the beatings), compound fractures of the third and fourth metacarpals and proximal phalanges in the right hand, a three inch stab wound right above his left clavicle, a seven inch gash on his left side. On his left side the fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs were bruised, and on his right side the third rib was fractured, and the fifth, sixth and seventh ribs were bruised. He had a five-inch laceration on his left leg, and a minor concussion. He had various and wide spread contusions and minor lacerations, and minor internal damage. Luckily for him, they had managed to complete any required surgery soon after he'd been brought in.
He would be confined to a wheel chair for a few days, and crutches for several months, and he would require months of physical therapy afterward. Dr. Travis went on for a long time on what sort of therapy he would have to undergo and what he would and would not be able to do… and so on. Chase listened to it all, growing angry and frustrated that he was not able to just move on and ignore what happened. Able to just pretend that everything was normal. Finally Dr. Travis left, and he was able to stew in his own thoughts undisturbed.