Title: "Dry Erase"
Rating/Classification: adult language, gen, pre-slash, Chase, ficlet.
Disclaimer: Fox shmox.
Summary: Nobody likes Dr. House.
The blue marker squeaked across the surface like it was mocking him. He scrawled the word across the whiteboard.
That had to be it.
All the symptoms were there. Persistent ass-kissing. Eagerness to please. Wanting to be right. Pick me, Professor! Pick my hand. I know the answer!
He wanted to get ahead. He wanted to gain every advantage possible, make the right friends along the way, network.
But, then again...
Competition, he wrote, crossing out the previous diagnosis. Red marker.
It wasn't just the need to rise through the ranks. It wasn't just champion ass-kissing. He wanted to kiss better than the good Drs. Foreman and Cameron. He wanted to be the best. He wanted to be on the mark more times than they were. He wanted the gold star for the day every day.
It'll match the silver spoon, Bobby, he told himself, twirling the marker between his fingers.
That was all. That was why. It all fit. He circled it in green.
It couldn't be the third possibility.
He couldn't possibly like the man. That was for Cameron. She could have the weak knees and the fluttery stomach and the dirty fantasies about House copping a feel and calling her "Allison" while she ran gels. Woman liked authority and their boss certainly had a lot of it. Along with attitude. He turned them all into puppies, begging for a pat even after he'd kicked them soundly.
He wrote it out. So he could look at it. Black marker. Thick black marker.
I. Like. Him.
The man treated him like trash. Didn't trust him. Dismissed him at every turn. Made him feel like he was an absolute idiot ninety percent of the time.
He heard the off-beat thump of the cane before he could wipe away the words. Fuck. So, he just stood there. Like an absolute idiot. Foot-cane-thump. Foot-cane-thump. And House's eyes flickered over the criss-crossed lines and scribblings.
"Interesting." The hand came down on his shoulder. A hard lean as he pulled himself forward. Close enough to whisper in his ear. It was sharp like Altoids and hand sanitizer. "Sorry, Champ..."
*I like him.*
"But, as usual, you're wrong."
He swallowed the sudden tightness in his throat and locked his knees. No flutters. No dirty fantasies here. No. No. No. "D-do...do you mind if I conduct additional tests?"
"By all means, Bobby. Go right ahead. Knock yourself out."
And maybe his free hand brushed Chase's face as he reached for the eraser.
A gold star.
Maybe something more.
March 23, 2005.