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Title: Safety Net
Author: lit_luminary
Rating: G
Characters: House, Chase (friendship)
Summary: After getting the results of Wilson’s CT, House asks Chase for a favor.


"You wanted me to tell Foreman. [...] You're smart enough to know even you'll lose your edge at some point.  You want to make sure someone's there when you do."  —Chase to House, 8.15: "Blowing the Whistle."



The day after the scan, after extracting Wilson’s solemn oath he won’t try anything so stupid as double-lethal chemo, that he’ll take the advice of any of the five doctors who gave him sane treatment plans, House calls Chase.

“CT results were not good,” he says, dispensing with niceties.  “His stunt with the chemo shrank the tumor, but it’s still outside surgical guidelines.”

Chase is quiet for a few seconds.  “If he wanted to risk operating anyway…I can stay long enough for that.”

“I’ll talk to him when the shock starts wearing off.”  House pauses, draws a breath.  He’s never liked asking for favors, and he knows this is a big one.  “You were right.  When I faked the liver panel.”

“Why—?”

“Because I need you available to step in for me until Wilson’s either in remission or dead,” House says flatly.

“House—”

“I get that you want out.  The nest is cramped, having everybody judge you against me sucks—but no one else is going to catch it if I miss a step.  So I am asking.”

“And if I say no,” Chase says after a beat, “either you’ll go on leave and the patients whose cases you’d’ve taken will die, or you’ll keep working and split your focus between cases and Wilson—”

“—and the patients whose cases I take could die if I screw up.  Yeah.”  When Chase doesn’t say anything, House says, “You don’t have any offers lined up in under forty-eight hours.  Foreman would give you that promotion tomorrow.”

“Whether I take the promotion’s not the point.”  He’s considering, weighing nine years of history against his own ambitions.  Finally, quietly, “All right.  For as long as you need me—all right.”

He doesn’t make any promises about what’ll happen after, and House thanks him and ends the call without asking for them.  Maybe, after a few weeks or months, Chase will settle into working parallel with House, the way he had when he’d been in surgery, and decide that there’s enough room at PPTH for them both.  Or he won’t, and as soon as Wilson’s fate is certain, he’ll walk away.

Either way, it won’t be House’s decision, won’t have anything to do with House’s having learned to rely on Chase’s perennial role in the operation of his personal machinery.  Whatever Chase is going to do, he’ll do whether House approves or not.

And that’s as it should be.

END.

Date: 2012-05-08 05:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] menolly-au.livejournal.com
I was glad that Chase was moving on, surprised that he was doing it two episodes from the end, and when he said 'let me know about Wilson' I thought, well why don't you hang around for a minute and you'll find out?

I like your scenario, I think the risky surgery is one option and they did make a point about Chase being the best surgeon in the hospital. Foreman really should have asked Chase to hang on for another day until Wilson's results were in - he must know it's not going to go well with House if wilson is dying.

Anyway, nice ficlet :)

Date: 2012-05-08 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lit-luminary.livejournal.com
I'd have preferred Chase to take Foreman's offer to head his own team, to be honest. In my personal narrative, Chase stayed on as heir presumptive to Diagnostics and took over when House--for whatever reason, but most probably because of health issues; I don't expect him to live to sixty--stepped down in not too very many years. (But then, I assume a quasi-familial relationship between Chase and House that the writers evidently don't.)

As it is, I'm hoping there's still room for some form of friendship with House in his life, even though he's outgrown the need for a mentor. Writing their interaction as peers is an interesting prospect, and I liked the reversal here: Chase stays because House needs him--possibly to operate, but definitely to handle whatever cases he can't during Wilson's illness.

Date: 2012-05-08 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cuddyclothes.livejournal.com
Yes, I was very surprised when he said, "Let me know about Wilson." That wasn't a throwaway comment. It meant something. I'm guessing Chase knew House would want to be alone with Wilson when he found out yay or nay.

This scenario seems very plausible. Although I really hope Chase returns to PPTH and House moves on to...whatever.

Date: 2012-05-08 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lit-luminary.livejournal.com
That's more or less what I thought, too: so little was said between them that Chase's bringing that up could not be throwaway. And yes, he definitely knew that under the circumstances, House would prefer he made a quick exit.

As I said above, I'd have been happier had Chase stayed and taken headship of a team of his own--the burning need to be out of House's shadow felt very sudden to me--but that's what I have many, many AUs for.

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