A particularly trying patient provokes House’s usual lack of sympathy for religious beliefs. His team are willing to follow House's lead, but Chase feels free to disagree.
Warnings: Written during season four, and thus may contain spoilers for any episode up to and including 4.14.
Martyrdom has always been a proof of the intensity, never of the correctness of a belief. ~Napoleon Bonaparte
"I have something for you," Chase said offhandedly, stepping abruptly into House's path. House swerved slightly and kept walking past, not breaking stride, but Chase kept pace easily, for once not trailing after House but walking next to him.
"I can assure you, you have nothing I want," House said. "Or at least not anything I want again."
The younger man flushed slightly, and his jaw tightened, but when he spoke his voice was calm. "I really think you should see this. It might...interest you."
House stopped, looking exasperated, which Chase interpreted less as an indication of his former boss' actual mood than as an attempt to speed things up, a calculated display of a convenient emotion. He smiled slightly to himself, and waited.
"Well?" House snapped. "What have you got?"
"Male patient, mid-forties, showed up in ER about an hour ago."
House made an impatient gesture. "Presenting with?"
"A broken nose, actually," Chase admitted.
"Do I need to tell you this is failing to interest me, or can you use your exemplary powers of observation to get there on your own?" House asked. "And by exemplary I mean lousy, in case you're not following me."
Chase still looked amused. "Really, I'd like you to meet this guy," he insisted.
As House entered the ER, Chase gestured in the direction of the howls of outrage. Now he hung back, though, trailing House into the cubicle in a clear indication of having had enough already. "You have to let me out of here. I have to get home to my computer," the patient was yelling, his voice muffled slightly by injury and bandages, though not muffled enough for comfort. He lowered the volume only slightly in acknowledgement of their presence. "How much of my time are you planning to waste? You have no right to keep me here. Do you have any idea who I am? There are people who need to hear my opinions. They rely on me; it doesn't give me any pleasure," he continued, seemingly unable to stop immediately even though the two doctors were clearly waiting to talk to him. House stood at the foot of the patient's bed and picked up his chart; Chase stood near the open entrance of the cubicle, grinning more openly now as he awaited their interaction.
"Congratulations," House told Chase. "You've successfully isolated a case of I hate him on sight."
Chase continued to smirk. "I thought you might be particularly placed to enjoy him," he said, his tone carefully neutral.
"I'm crippled, not deaf," House said.
"The lightweight I've met, but who the hell are you?" the patient demanded, glaring at House.
"Antonio Biaggio Selvaggio," House read, ignoring the question. "I see someone's broken your nose for you, and based on ten seconds in your company I can guess why. Why the hell did you think this would interest me?" he asked, turning back to Chase. "He's an asshole. We can't cure that."
"He's also complaining of headache, dizziness, and disorientation," Chase said.
"He's complaining?" House replied. "I'm shocked! I'd have expected him to suffer stoically, in silence."
"Do any of you people care enough about human life to do your damned jobs?" the patient screamed, enraged. "Or am I expecting too much from you? Are you entirely blind to your own incompetence? You're supposed to be treating me, not conspiring against me. You're just like everybody else! You're all against me!"
House eyed him wordlessly for a moment, then handed the chart to Chase as he left. "On the other hand, he might be psychotic," he said cheerfully. "Stick him on Haloperidol and see if that shuts him up."
"That's pretty strong stuff," Chase pointed out, but without sounding particularly concerned. "You sure you feel comfortable prescribing that?"
House looked irritated. "Well, it's either that or you could try treating his obvious lead deficiency, and for some reason the hospital frowns on our using handguns on the patients. Although in Mr. Selvaggio's case they might make an exception," he added thoughtfully as the ranting resumed. "Let me know how it works out," he added, injecting a note of patently insincere concern in his voice, and headed for the elevator.
"Did that son of a bitch threaten me?" the patient asked.
"I'm reasonably sure he was joking," Chase said.
"I take death threats very seriously," Mr. Selvaggio said solemnly, which would have been a rational enough remark if there'd been a credible threat of any kind, but was a bit much in reaction to sarcasm.
"And yet you've already threatened several of the nurses," Chase couldn't resist pointing out.
The man rolled his eyes. "That was light-hearted banter," he said, "as any fool could have guessed from context. Not that I should expect anyone here to have enough wit to understand that--or enough sense of fair play to give me the benefit of the doubt."
"Haloperidol it is," Chase said, but under his breath. No point in provoking this guy any further.