Chase rubbed his eyes groggily whilst vainly trying to suppress his fifth yawn of the hour with the back of his hand, smiling somewhat sheepishly at House who shot him an irritated look, as if Chase’s constant yawning were somehow more annoying than the tap-tap-tapping of House’s cane.
They’d been sitting in the waiting room for too many hours already, awaiting the end of their latest patient’s operation and the surgeon’s report. Why House had decided that of all the patients they’d ever treated before they had to sit and wait on this one was anyone’s guess, more to the point was why on earth they had to wait on said report in Cuddy’s office. Though Chase had to admit the Administrator of Princeton-Plainsboro did have a rather comfy couch.
House eyed Chase shrewdly from the corner of his eye as the other man slumped lower and lower, his body tilting ever-so-worryingly in House’s direction, forcing House to lean away in fear of the contact.
“Chase!” House snapped and Chase jumped, mumbling an apology as he blinked his weary eyes. House shot him a mild glare before turning his attentions back upon his cane, which he proceeded to balance in the middle of his hand in a bid to keep occupied. The swaying motion however sent Chase nodding off again, his eyelids too heavy to keep open. Chase felt himself slipping sideways but by the time the thought processed itself he was already falling into a deep sleep, his head cushioning itself quite nicely in House’s lap.
House stilled, straightening himself a little and staring down at Chase with a look of audacity that softened itself almost immediately into a look of subtle fondness. He watched the younger man for a moment, checking that Chase was truly asleep before cautiously lifting a hand to touch tentatively at Chase’s cheek, stroking his fingers up to brush a few stray strands of hair behind the young man’s ear.
He watched the dark smudge of Chase’s eyelashes, saw the movement of REM behind his closed lids, and House smiled, running his fingers over Chase’s sleep-flushed cheeks once more before threading them more fully through Chase’s hair, stroking at the blond mass as he relaxed back into the softness of Cuddy’s couch and allowed the first tendrils of sleep claim him.
- - -
When Cuddy finally arrived with the surgeon’s report, it was to a sight so unbelievable that at first she wasn’t sure whether to be amused or concerned. For through the glass walls of her office she found House and Chase both fast asleep upon her couch; Chase’s head was nestled quite comfortably upon House’s lap and upon closer inspection, Cuddy noted that House’s hand lay resting upon Chase’s head, his fingers curled protectively within the younger man’s hair.
She smiled at the picture they both presented, seeing the content little smiles that both men wore with something akin to pleasure. Her smile soon grew to a grin as she slipped from a pocket her mobile phone, taking a quick picture of House and Chase in order to forever preserve the moment. That and the blackmailing potential it offered were just to good to pass up.
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