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HOUSE: Little Poison Spears #2 (Taub)

Title: Little Poison Spears #2
Author: voleuse
Fandom: House
Character: Chris Taub
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: A man who burned like an acetylene torch from one end to the other.
Notes: Set during the timespan of 6.01



Taub watched from the observation level as Chase repaired the aortic valve. The patient would be his next, but only if she survived the surgery. His cell phone chimed softly, and he looked around the empty room before answering it.

"Enjoying another day of summer vacation?" Rachel asked.

He laughed. "Just because the teacher's out doesn't mean I don't have homework."

"Right." She cleared her throat. "Do you have a surgery tonight?"

"No." He winced, looked at his watch. "The patient has to stabilize before I start her reconstruction." He peered downward, where Chase was nodding to one of the scrub nurses. "I was just watching the earlier surgeries."

"Will she make it?" Rachel asked.

He watched the movements below, the awkward dance and tense shoulders. "Maybe. I don't know."

"Okay." She cleared her throat. "Okay. Well. Simon called earlier."

Taub frowned, turned away from the window. "Simon? Simon Long?"

"Yes. He said he had a," Rachel hesitated, "business proposition for you."

He let that thought roll around for a moment, considering where it might end.

"Should I expect you for dinner?" Rachel asked, interrupting.

"Yeah," Taub said. "I'll be home soon."

He ended the call and put the phone in his pocket. He walked out the door without a glance back through the window.

*


He had lunch with Simon in between shifts at the clinic. The offer was better than he expected. It wasn't as good as the practice he used to have, and the recognition would be less than what he garnered now, but the pay was decent, and he wouldn't feel like such a...

He wouldn't feel like this.

Ten minutes until the evening shift started, he leaned into Cuddy's office and tried to smile like he cared. "Have you heard from House lately?"

"Not personally." Cuddy looked up from her monitor, and he could almost see her holding in her sigh. "I'm told he's making progress, but I don't have a timetable."

"Ah," he replied.

"I know you'd prefer to work in diagnostics," she said, "but your work in surgery has been excellent."

"I know," he said. "I am a surgeon."

Cuddy smiled. "Right." She tapped her index finger against her keyboard. "If you'd rather work in another department--"

"Someone's made me an offer," he interrupted. "I haven't accepted it yet, but I thought you should know I'm considering other options."

She folded her hands together. "Thank you, Doctor Taub." She smiled. "I appreciate your candor, but as I said--"

"You don't have a timetable." He nodded. "Okay."

*


When Rachel arrived home, he was uncorking a bottle of red. "I made spaghetti," he proclaimed. "There were meatballs in the freezer."

She took the bottle from his hands and filled the two glasses on the table halfway. "This isn't champagne," she observed.

"We don't have anything to celebrate yet," he responded.

Rachel took a sip from her glass. "You talked to Simon."

"At lunch."

"And you talked to Doctor Cuddy."

"I did." He rearranged the cutlery. "She doesn't know when House will be back. Or if." He switched the forks, and then back again. "And even if he does come back, it'll be different. No Kutner, no--"

"No Amber?"

He looked up, hesitant, but Rachel just nodded. She eased into a chair, and waved at him to do the same. He switched the forks one last time, and sat.

"What do you want to do?" she asked him, the rim of the glass bumping against her chin. "What would make you happy again?"

He breathed out, and smiled. "I don't know."


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Tony Hoagland's Lawrence. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

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