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Title: Remade Regrets
Author: lit_luminary
Rating: PG-13
Characters/Pairings: Chase; past Chase/Cameron; implications of Chase/various women and House/Chase friendship/mentorship.
Summary: A study in remorse and might-have-beens, attempting to reconcile Chase’s behavior this season with his character as established in S1-6. (Set after “Changes” but before “The Fix.”)

“A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future.” —Anonymous



Chase had never wanted to learn he could divorce sex and emotion, make it as impersonal as what Cameron had first demanded from him; never wanted to think of himself as the kind of man who could sleep with a woman without so much as learning her name.

His mother had escaped into her drinking, his father into his work; lately, Chase has been escaping into loveless affairs so he doesn’t have to be alone with the mess he’s made of his life.

He’d promised himself (as a teenager alone in futile efforts to save a dying mother, as an adult orphaned by a still-living father) that he wouldn’t recreate their mistakes—and he hasn’t, in the strictest sense.  But if he’s honest, nothing about this is so different, and he’s betraying everything he ever wanted each time he chooses it over something real.

The other side of the bed is empty tonight—he’s done that much right, or at least felt that much self-disgust—but he hasn’t solved the problem.  Not really.  He’s been unmoored since Dibala; since Cameron left; since House stopped paying attention to anything beyond his wreck of a relationship with Cuddy.  And he’s never been any good at asking for help.

Yes, he’s learnt over years that it wouldn’t do any good.  But if he admits it, half the problem is he can’t help feeling his misery is his own fault—that he took a human life; he ruined his marriage; he pursued meaningless sex instead of coping properly—and he doesn’t deserve to be helped.

Reaching across the bed for the extra pillow, he holds it against him and pretends, reinventing what’s gone wrong.  If only none of this had happened in the first place…

House gets his way about treating Dibala for scleroderma, blusters and browbeats until Foreman sighs in disgust and concedes.  When Dibala dies hours later, it’s an honest misdiagnosis.

House will make them all miserable for a few weeks, spread his bad mood around; but ultimately, knowing what the dictator died of is the most important thing: they’ll take another case and solve it, and House will get over having missed this one.

Chase goes home, puts the case out of his mind, and falls asleep with one arm around Cameron, listening to her sleep-slow breathing.

It would have been so much easier that way; so much less painful if he’d never learnt the necessity of playing God.  If he’d never learnt how much doing the right thing could cost.

He’d thought of that would-be assassin, his story of state-sanctioned rape, mutilation and murder, and thought two million people.

And he’d acted.

The church would argue the sanctity of Dibala’s life, but Chase knows that day-to-day realities don’t match theology’s absolutes, don’t always allow Do no harm.  In the end, it’d had to be Do the least harm, and he’d chosen to commit one murder rather than bear indirect responsibility for a massacre.

He’d tried to explain that, but Cameron had never understood.

He finally gets the confession out, dropping it like a weight.  Cameron’s eyes go wide, but her hand tightens around his and she pulls him close and holds him, and when he begins to explain and apologize for all the lies he’s told, she cuts him off, telling him, “I understand, Robert; it’s okay.  I forgive you.”

And it’s the truth this time, doesn’t come with an implicit Only because you feel guilty enough; only if you’ll run away and pretend this never happened.  She forgives him, and he learns to forgive himself; she stays with him, and they learn to trust each other.

Of course it’s too late for that now, and there’d been at least enough closure in their conversation during the lockdown that he knows they’d both contributed to breaking the marriage; they’d probably have separated in the end whether he’d killed Dibala or not.  Because they’d never figured out how to communicate properly; because she’d never really trusted him with anything except her body; because he’d given in every time they disagreed rather than risk the relationship.

Because he’d been too willing to tell himself that marriage vows would cement what was too fragile to hold together, no matter what he did.  And when everything fell apart, then he’d told himself the illusion of intimacy was better than nothing, because there were no supports left.

And House hadn’t noticed: one more lost constant.

It’s a few weeks or months ago, the moments after agreeing upon a prospective diagnosis and a series of tests.  He’s following the others out when House stops him, calls him back.

“First one-night stand, I figured you were getting Cameron out of your system,” House says.  His fingers are steepled over his cane; he’s watching Chase with the intensity that means shifting puzzle pieces.  “How many are you up to now?”

He looks down, his silence answering for him.

“Okay.  I’ll take the shame-screaming body language as ‘too many.’”  A pause, then,  “Care to share what you think you’re doing?  And I’m not talking an answer like ‘the blonde with the legs up to Canada.’”

He laughs humorlessly, meets House’s gaze.  “I’m not coping.”

“Duh,” House says.  Then, quietly, “Running away doesn’t help.  And using sex to run away is going to screw you up worse than you already are.  If you need help, get help.”

And maybe he gets therapy, or maybe he pulls himself together on his own: either way, it helps to know House is always watching; that he sees when something’s wrong and gives a damn.

He’s learnt by now that running doesn’t work: he’d run from his mother’s death to seminary; from the loss of his faith to med school; from a career in his father’s shadow to House’s fellowship.

He’d still had to live with himself—could never really escape—because he’d known what he was trying to get away from and carried it with him.  He’ll have to live with this too, and what he’s been doing…

“Confiteor Deo omnipotenti…”

He’s not sure anymore what he believes, or if he believes (and even assuming there is a God, does he have the right to ask forgiveness?), but the shapes of the words in his mouth are still steadying.  I confess that I have greatly sinned, in my deeds and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do.

The first step toward fixing things is to stop actively making them worse.  And if he still needs help…

If he still needs help, then he’ll make himself ask for it.

END.

Note: The Latin Chase quotes is from the Confiteor, a traditional Roman Catholic prayer.  Translated, it means "I confess to God Almighty."  The other lines would read "…quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo opere et omissione."  (This wording is taken from a modern version, rather than the traditional liturgy.)

Date: 2011-05-16 03:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddyclothes.livejournal.com
This is so nice...it helps make sense out of the character in a way the show cannot. Love how the fantasy and reality intertwine.

Date: 2011-05-16 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lit-luminary.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I've been beyond appalled by what the show has done with Chase this season, because he was anything but a womanizing cad the six years previous. I can accept what he's doing as a self-destructive form of escapism, but certainly not as something he actually enjoys.

What's worse is that House still hasn't noticed any problem, even now that he's no longer afflicted by Cuddy-induced myopia. I don't buy for a second that the man who keeps tabs on everyone in his orbit by means classifiable as stalking simply doesn't react to a major personality/behavioral change: realistically, he'd have staged the kind of intervention in that last fantasy sequence a long time ago.

Date: 2011-05-16 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] freddie-mac.livejournal.com
Well done, thanks for taking the time to explore s7 Chase's behavior. Y'know, I had the oddest thought (pushes bunny forward): Chase feels that he needs to be needs to be punished, he's chosen sex as the vehicle, so why not look up Annette (the bdsm banker)? The state he's in, you expect him to ask for *normal* help?

Date: 2011-05-16 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lit-luminary.livejournal.com
I was actually thinking along similar lines when I was writing, actually: if the writers had wanted to be somewhat realistic about all this, Chase would have been more likely to turn to BDSM than to sex a dozen different women in the conventional fashion--after all, a scene could be built around his own psychological needs, and the partner would have no illusions it was about anything more than that. Much less exploitative, and that would matter to Chase.

The problem is that canon hasn't bothered to trace this behavior back to its only plausible origins (i.e., Dibala and the broken marriage), but rather painted Chase as a womanizing cad who--until "Changes"--seemed to be sincerely enjoying this behavior. And for House not to notice and call him on the change is taxing suspension of disbelief beyond limits.

Date: 2011-05-17 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] freddie-mac.livejournal.com
Exactly. Chase was the reluctant one when Cameron wanted "no strings" sex; a womanizing cad would have had no problems. And the House who has been appearing lately is barely aware of anything past the end of his (or Cuddy's) nose -- an idiot like that certainly wouldn't be paying attention to his longest-lasting fellow (whom he fired with the words, IIRC, "I've taught you everything I can") who is slowly self-destructing. Keep in mind that Chase was working with house 6mos/1yr before Foreman and Cameron were hired, so there *used to be* some sort of relationship there ...

My impression from the sloppy writing/poor handling of Chase is that he is practically overwhelmed by the need to punish himself/purge himself of guilt (over Dibala, Cameron; even possibly Rowan, the patient who died because he was distracted, and his mother's illness/death); unless there's some sort of intervention, I'm expecting a catastrophic breakdown. However, (nudge, nudge), if you'd like to rescue him by pushing him into therapy, I'll be more than happy to cheer you on. After all, the purpose of fanfic is to fix the errors in canon, especially character assassination!

Date: 2011-05-17 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lit-luminary.livejournal.com
House's relationship with Chase has always been of particular interest to me, so I've written on it rather extensively: there's mentorship, even something quasi-paternal sometimes; and it didn't escape me that Chase was the one House spent some time with socially when Wilson was wrapped up with Amber, suggesting potential for a friendship of sorts: before S7, House certainly did care about him. But yes, as it is, seeing past the end of Cuddy's nose seems to be about House's limit. (Pardon me while I seethe in disgust.)

As for Chase himself, I agree with your reading: I wouldn't carry this degree of guilt back as far as Rowan et. al, since he dealt with those without going completely off the rails (although undoubtedly they left their psychological scars), but certainly he needs to do something to alleviate those feelings, or there will be some kind of breakdown.

His telling Thirteen about the Dibala situation in last night's ep gives me hope that canon is moving in the direction of having him pull himself together; but in a world that'd been consistent with the previous sis seasons, House would noticed the anomalous behavior and pushed him to get help ages ago.

I'm not sure whether/with what I'll follow up with this piece, but I'll leave the possibility open.

Date: 2011-07-10 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pinkuro.livejournal.com
aw, so perfect! I wish this would go in the show! I loved it :)

Chase and Faith.

Date: 2011-10-18 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandra marshall (from livejournal.com)
(PLEASE READ THIS PART FIRST) First off, when I read a fic and I can actually hear the actors voices and see their expressions then I know that I'm 'in it till the end'. You capture the characters beautifully. You have an easy style of writing that I enjoy immensely. I've not yet had the chance to read them all,but I fully intend to. I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to add my own ramble and uptake of the Chase character. I believe that after House, he's the most complex. His 'unpsoken' words say so much more than his spoken. I also believe that his turmoil runs deep and stems from an unfulfilled yearning to serve his God. Even when Chase is completely off the rails his faith is never lost. Why do I think this. Well, most write that he's 'lost' his faith - but as the season's have continued, we hear the word of faith in Chase's mouth more and more. From 'Damned if you do' where he is very reluctant to even acknowledge his faith in God.(except to the nun) His prayer for the dead baby before the autopsy was heart breaking in it's nuance. Then as he grows he's more trusting of it. In 'Here Kitty' when he say's that he "believes in Faith and Prayer" we have the concrete evidence of that faith told loud and proud. Not to mention all the subtle body language throughout. When ever anything is in balance, we notice that Chase will sit at the table in the office and hold his posture and hands as if in silent prayer. It made perfect sense that he would seek absolution in the confessional. Chase loves two beings. God and Allison. After his number one turn to, failed he went, finally to seek absolution with the second most influential person in his life. His faith is alive and kicking and I truly believe that it's his core. His lack of faith, however lies with the dogma of religion. In season 7 we hear more and more the spiritual counter balance (as opposed with House's none belief) placed firmly with Chase's dealings with his patients. We see that Chase is annoyed with House and asks his to stop mocking the man who believes his daughter was saved by God in 'Small Sacrifices'. In Fall from Grace,he truly believes that the man was saved by God for a better purpose.He openly asks Taub to give the guy 'a break'. I truly believe that his sleeping around his HIS test of God. It's like he's saying to God..Come on, Whatcha gonna do about it? Then we clearly see that after 'Changes' Chase comes to realize that it's futile and see's the emptiness in his Tempting of God to 'smite' him for being a whore. This is then reflected in the scene where he's a asleep, on his own (After Hours) with the book The Crusades' laying across his chest. (honestly,they couldn't have been more obvious in the writing of this scene if they'd had a Bible laid across his chest)......more....>

Chase and faith - Part 2

Date: 2011-10-18 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandra marshall (from livejournal.com)
(PLEASE THIS PART SECOND)Finally, the whole Dibala arc comes full circle and we see and hear Chase's life echoed back to him when 13 say's "Darrien did the right thing in shooting the kid, but she destroyed her life trying to forget it" The look on Chase's face when this is told to him is beautiful. So finally when he asks 13 if she's talked to anyone and she say's that she's spoken to a therapist and it didn't help. he say's (words to the effect) maybe you should talk to someone 'else' Most people have interpreted this as 'him' being the someone else. Given the blossoming and more assertiveness of Chase's faith, I'm more inclined to think he meant someone more spiritually inclined. It's only after she's say's "Do you have idea what it's like to take another's life", does he invite her for a coffee. (now that's a scene I'd like to see! Maybe in your most capable hands? *hint-hint*) There are many, many more such instances of Chase's views on his faith, but I've not had chance to log them all down, but when they come, if you're paying attention,(also to the body language)they're pretty subtle. Also,I've searched and searched all the fic's for the blanks concerning the what,why and how his test of faith was failed and how he really came to leave the seminary. It's been touched on..but most have come to the conclusion that he lost his faith and as clearly shown he hasn't..so what was it that made him turn his back on his religion.

If you watch this interview by Jesse, you hear clear as day, that he's not lost his faith.

So, sorry for the ramble....It's just that your last dable here kinda opened a door ( and opened it beautifully and with a wonderful and spot-on realism into the charater of Chase and his faith ridden angst.

The interview. :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMnr0Js2MfA&feature=related

Many thanks
PS, Any typo's or,indeed,if this makes no sense at all, forgive. I'm getting over a car accident and am on heavy meds. It's with great and humble thanks that people like you who write such insightful and compelling fiction of our favorite doctors that has helped greatly to ease the pain and endless bed-ridden days. *bows*
(sorry this is in two parts....exceeded my character length.)

Re: Chase and faith - Part 2

Date: 2011-10-19 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lit-luminary.livejournal.com
Thank you so, so much for this insightful analysis: this is the kind of critique I live for, since it's rare for a reader to engage with any of my texts in such depth.

Chase's experience of faith is a richly nuanced topic, and the distinction you draw is a fine one: he retains his faith, but left the seminary because of qualms about religious dogma. I agree: faith and religion can be entirely different things.

I read Chase's ambivalence slightly differently--that is, that his struggle has been to reconcile faith with belief in science, and with the great unfairnesses of his life (Rowan's absenteeism, his mother's premature death), which would make it difficult to believe in an all-loving God: what kind of God would leave a child in that situation?

I also see his relationship with God and his relationship with House as manifestations of the same underlying need for a father: when Rowan abandoned him, he turned to the abstract idea of a heavenly father, and later to House as an earthly surrogate. The trick is balancing the two (recall "House vs. God" and Chase's literally keeping score. In the end, they tie: he realizes that he can reconcile science with faith, and not diminish the importance of either),

I'll look forward to your thoughts on any of my other work, most of which features Chase prominently. Issues of faith and spirituality feature somewhat in my Dæmonverse AAU, although that spirituality is different from the canonical, Catholicism-infused model. I also recommend the sonnet redoublé I wrote around the Dibala arc (http://lit-luminary.livejournal.com/16313.html#cutid1), which deals with issues of faith, morality and coping with guilt. This post-episodic piece deals with similar topics in prose (http://lit-luminary.livejournal.com/11318.html#cutid1).

Re: Chase and faith - Part 2

Date: 2011-10-19 06:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandra marshall (from livejournal.com)
You're most welcome. I have been a spiritual guidance counselor/adviser for nigh-on 20 years. Having studied Theology for over 3 years after an awakening experience that came out of the blue and knocked me sideways.
I'd like to think that I am open minded and cover all aspects of spirituality. Over the years, I've sifted through the dogma of practiced religions and although I don't deem my self a Christian, I'd like to call my self a Christ-person. I'm also what people call a Clairsentient, or Empath in lay-terms. I was purely drawn to House because of the spiritual counter balance and liked very much that they placed that 'voice' in one who, on the surface,would be seen as the last person to be spiritual. I.E. A good looking, pretty boy! Very clever. I also like that they leave the viewer to come to their own conclusions and as I said, so much is spoken by no words at all. So, do we know that Chase turned to God because his father left him? (and his mother) For me, this a father who sadly let him down. In my mind God is the only Father who's not let him down.( only his religion has) I think that mores the point,that Chase feels he's let God down. How do we know that he hadn't had that calling from a very early age? (I own all the box sets and don't seem to recall if it's ever actually been mentioned.) I see Chases reconciliation with science and faith (not religion) as the next best thing to being of service to humanity. If he couldn't heal their spiritual needs then he'd use his brain for earthly healing. House deducts that Chase was forced to become a doctor by his father. I read that,Chase is not just angry with his own father because he left him, but because he made it impossible for him to truly follow his true path. Then when religion and dogma didn't quite fill his needs he lost the will to fight him and trotted off to med school. It is indeed funny how we each interpret something though. I watched 'House vs God' as though Chase was desperate for God to come out on top. This was the ultimate judgement scale. He was impressed that it came out even, because an 'even' outcome when dealing with God does indeed puts House up on some sort of divine pedestal. (in Chases brain this literally puts House on par wit God) If you watch his body language when ever God is brought up, he lights up. He's even been brought to a dead Stop. In 'Fall From Grace', when Danny tells them that he was declared clinically dead during rehab and say's that he thought it was a sign from God. Chase just stops dead. Hesitates and say's "God?" (all hail to Jesse btw on how he plays this complex character. I've heard people say he's a little wooden, yet his acting in not just in is delivery of the words, the subtle body language is to a tee and speaks volumes.) Anyway, I could add more, but I've been up all night with a muscle spasm in my neck (whiplash) and I'm done in. I've read some of your other stuff and loved the 'redouble' I'm not sure about the Dæmonverse AAU stuff though, can you explain what that means? I did read a one shot, and got a little confused.

2 things before I trot off to bed. Did you watch the YouTube link I posted? (I loved the interview) and do you see the synchronization between name and faith? Robert Chase. R.S = Roman Catholic *heh heh*
I look forward to reading your amazing, insightful stories and to continuing our chat. :)

Re: Chase and faith - Part 2

Date: 2011-10-19 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandra marshall (from livejournal.com)
Oh God! I've just re-read this and can only apologise for the dreadful way in which it's written. I'm in a Morphine haze and utterly exhausted. It was meant to read R.C and not R.S. *sigh* (and a whole host of other typo's,grammatical mistakes and bad phrasing. - now you see why I don't write fic! *heh heh* )
One more thing, when Chase talks about his faith,or indeed when he deals with other peoples faith, he lowers and softens his tone of voice. As though giving it reverence. When I'm rested, I'll share with you a true story. Medicine and faith combined. Here in the U.K, we're a couple of episodes behind the States. ( which makes a change than usually a whole season/year) I follow Jesse on Twitter and have noticed that he's off all over the place surfing. Do you know in which episode he returns? Thanks again. ~ Sandra

Re: Chase and faith - Part 2

Date: 2011-10-19 11:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lit-luminary.livejournal.com
No worries about the mechanics. Your thoughts come through clearly; that's all that matters.

I majored in English literature as an undergraduate, and am currently working on a graduate degree in teaching secondary English. My undergraduate years instilled a deep love for this kind of analysis, and I'm enjoying your perspective very much.

I come from a Judeo-Christian background but identify as eclectic Wiccan, which was my answer to organized religion's dogma: spirituality structured individually. Coming back to the capacity for faith was an interesting journey, and makes me identify with those aspects of Chase's character.

By the way, your attention to his body language is impressive: I think many viewers miss how much of his character comes through this way, and never in spoken words. (It's my theory that that's why he's so often overlooked: most of what gives his character depth doesn't come through if you're not watching him closely.) He's due to return in the fifth episode of S8.

As far as the Dæmonverse AAU, if you want to read that, I'd start here, with the introduction to the concept of dæmons (http://lit-luminary.livejournal.com/6871.html#cutid1), and then continue to the first story written in the 'verse, "Principles of Growth," which includes an explanation of everything you need to know in the preface (http://lit-luminary.livejournal.com/357.html).

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