Chase has only one thing he truly envies about his brother. He envies Adam's ability to hold on to faith. He wants to know what it is that Adam has that lets him believe in anything.
Chase has held on to religion, but it's a dried up old well that no matter how many times he lowers the bucket, he's not getting water. He finds somewhere to go for mass on Christmas and Easter, quietly observes Lent - though, he wonders how long it'll be before House notices the signs.
Adam discarded religion at the ripe old age of 15. Declared that the Church, Christianity, and organized religion as a whole were quite useless, distractions from the real truth. Chase has seen other people say it, but they say it with anger in their eyes. Like they're really just trying to provoke a response out of God, because they're just angry children who want their mother to stop talking to someone and pay attention to them.
But Adam said it with nothing less than a serene kind of joy.
Just to defy him, Chase went to seminary. As though, somewhere, somehow he'd find something there to break Adam apart, to prove him wrong.
He envies his brother's ability to find a course and keep going, to never be stopped. To cut through things in his path as though they were ghosts and spiderwebs and completely insubstantial.
Adam showed for their father's funeral, still touting his brand new name, calling himself Newman, as though he hadn't been born Adam Chase. As though Adam Chase never exist.
Chase wanted so horribly to pin him against the wall and tell him, "I know who you are, you fake. You're not really smiling, you're not really okay."
Only, Adam has this infuriating way of unraveling anger and taking it away from you. And if Chase has anything, he has anger.
He has a *right* to his anger and Adam is not going to deprive him of it now.
Not even when he shows up, just like Father, at his work - all smiles and clever looks.
Chase stands up, says in the coolest voice he has, "Dr. Newman."
Adam smiles a little brighter. "Dr. Chase."
"You two know each other?" Foreman asks, raising an eyebrow and sitting back.
Chase can just feel it behind him. Cameron and Foreman are getting ready for the show, and god only knows what House is putting together in his brain.
If he's lucky, House hasn't figured it out *yet*. If he isn't, House is about five minutes and a whiteboard session away from discovering the last big, ugly secret Chase has and laying it out on the table, replete with glib comments and the kind of insight that's just this side of telepathic.
"Yes, Dr. Newman and I are -"
"Brothers," House finishes, raising his chin and evaluating Adam.
"Oh, hey," Cameron says, standing up. "I'm Dr. Cameron, this is Dr. Foreman, and that's Dr. House."
"Nice to meet you," Adam says with the charm turned on like a heater on high. Cameron and Foreman can't be blamed for enjoying it. Working with House long enough and even the slightest bit of courtesy or politeness or charm becomes hypnotic.
"Long flight in? I bet your arms are tired," House says, in a flat voice.
And Chase really, really, really *loves* House at that moment for not falling for it. Adam can do his song and dance of 'look at me, I'm so charming and affable and I never get mad or rude' for Cameron and Foreman, but House is immune to charm, thank *god*.
"Somewhere we can talk in private?" Adam asks, jerking his head backwards in a casual, familiar way. Like there isn't a mile of bad water between them.
"Is it important?" asks Chase.
Cameron's the first to balk. "Your brother comes all the way in from Australia and you ask if it's important."
Chase finds himself with the urge to turn around and snap, "It's not like it was a big deal for him or anything. He just teleported."
"Trust me, it's important," Adam says.
"Go on. I'll write you a note," says House, smiling that thin, razor sharp smile at him. Because House could be the nice guy and say, 'no, sorry, Chase is a vital member of my team and I need him here at all times. But he doesn't.
Because that would make Chase's life easier, and House is physically incapable of doing that.
It's easier to be at least tolerant of Adam when he doesn't have his coworkers glaring at him, asking questions about why he isn't giving his brother a big slap on the back and smiling like it's Christmas. Asking why Chase is so rude to such a nice guy. Asking why Chase's family is so *horribly* messed up. Asking if it's Chase's fault that it is.
"I shouldn't have barged in on you at work," Adam apologizes over the closest thing to fish and chips that Chase has been able to find in New Jersey.
Chase shrugs. The best way not to let Adam take away all his well-deserved anger and indignation is not to show it. To keep it hidden.
"It's all right. Wasn't that important," Chase tells him, taking a large bite of fried fish.
"Rob, I'm sorry."
Chase rolls his eyes. "You always are."
"No, I mean it. I haven't been a very good brother to you, have I?"
Chase shakes his head. "You had a lot going on."
"Not that much. Not every day. You were my brother, and I couldn't even pop by for a coffee to see how you were doing."
"It all turned out just fine, so will you just drop it? If you came here to say sorry, you could've picked up the phone. Do you have any idea how many questions I'm gonna have to answer when I get back?"
"I guess I didn't think this through."
"No, you didn't. You never do. You just pop around, like other people's lives don't matter. Like I should just drop everything and come running because you decided say 'hi'. Well, I'm not doing that this time. I got along just fine without you."
Chase notices that Adam is waiting until it's over. And he notices that Adam doesn't have that soft look in his eyes, the one he usually has when he serenely disregards all your pain.
He has a very tired look.
"They're after us again," Adam tells him.
Chase narrows his eyes. "You mean - Galt? Colonel Masters?"
"New players, same game," Adam replies.
It took three days in a row before anyone in the house realized Adam wasn't there. Mum wouldn't have noticed if a train had barreled through the living room and father wasn't coming back. A fact Chase had accepted a lot sooner than Adam.
The first two mornings that Adam wasn't there, Chase thought nothing of it. It was summer, and school was done for a few months. Chase liked to sleep in and Adam didn't waste time getting to the beach.
But the third morning, Chase noticed that Adam's bedsheets hadn't moved. That his surfboard wasn't in the garage.
The feeling nagged, but the house smelled like vodka and Chase knew of better places to spend the day.
And then one of his mates came turned him when they were in line at the cinema and said, "Is Adam all right?"
"What do you mean?" asked Chase.
"He got attacked by a shark on the beach three days ago," his mate told him.
Chase went running all the way home. He burst through the door and dropped heavy on his knees by his mother's side on the couch.
He slapped her cheeks lightly. "Mum, mum, I need you to talk to me. Where's Adam?"
His mum groaned. "Adam."
"Where is Adam? They said he was hurt, did somebody from the police call? Where's Adam?"
His mum passed out while he was holding her head up. Chase knocked over a lamp getting out the door and running down to the beach, greyed and dimmed by the almost gone sun. Up and down the shore he ran, for hours after it got dark. Thinking he might find something. Something that belonged to Adam.
And all the time terrified that he might trip across one of his brother's bones.
He stayed 'til sunup, searching the shore. The first light of the sun found him weeping in the sand.
"I was supposed to watch him," he cried to the shells and the sand and the sea foam. "I was supposed to take care of him!"
Covered in sand and soaking, he trudged home with his shadow in front of him.
He collapsed on the floor of his bedroom and wept, wild with his grief for his brother. His beautiful, beautiful brother that he was supposed to look after. His brother who'd been gone three days before anyone noticed. His brother who he killed. His brother Adam who he taught to climb trees, who he shoved his broccoli to when he couldn't stand to eat it, who he'd followed like a puppy until he was ten. His brother, browned by the sun and desperate for the ocean and wide eyed.
His brother who he loved.
He woke up to someone shaking his shoulder, whispering his name.
The crying started immediately, because the moment he was awake he remembered that his brother was gone.
"He's gone, Adam's gone," he sobbed.
"No, I'm not," Adam said, crouching down next to him. "I'm here."
Chase looked up and saw his brother smiling down. He sat up quickly and grabbed him, desperately afraid he was just a hallucination or a dream.
But he was solid and warm and skinny and tanned and all the things he was supposed to be.
"How? They said you got attacked by a shark," Chase whispered.
"I did," Adam answered. He lifted his shirt and showed Chase the jagged, scabbed over wound across his side. Chase reached out to touch it and Adam let him, even though he hissed when Chase's fingers ran over the redness around the wounds themselves.
When Chase took his fingers away, Adam let his shirt down. For a long moment, Chase stared at Adam.
And then all of his anger came loose. He rose up to his knees and grabbed Adam by the shirt, pushed Adam to the ground, knocking him backwards.
"You bastard! Where were you!" he screamed, "I looked for you! Three days! I was scared for you, Adam! I was scared for you!"
Adam grabbed Chase's wrists. "I know. I'm sorry. I came back as soon as I could. I have to show you something. Don't be scared, okay? It's nothing bad."
Adam became nothing but light and disappeared from underneath Chase in a pop that stung like electricity. Chase hit the floor and a wild panic replaced the anger.
He turned over and looked up. Adam was standing before him, smiling down.
"It's called teleporting," Adam answered.
"But how? This can't be real."
Adam crouched down again, so he was eye level with his dirty, red-eyed brother.
"It's real, Rob. I'm really here, this is really happening. I know it's a lot to take in."
Chase started to bawl. Turned over and buried his face in the floor. Adam crawled over to him, and Chase's first reaction was nothing but violence. Clumsily he tried to punch Adam, kick at him.
"Get away from me!" Chase screamed, his voice hoarse and liquid with tears. "I don't want you -"
Adam grabbed him in the fiercest hug and held him fast, until he could get control of himself. Chase's breathed like he was having the worst panic attack ever.
"It's all right now, Rob. Really."
"I was supposed to look after you! You were gone and I thought -"
"I know. But now we can look after each other."
It makes a horrible kind of sense now. Adam's smiles and his cool stance, all of his charm has really been just a plea.
His brother's coming to him, begging in the only way he knows.
And he came with the belief that he'd have to beg, charm, cheat, steal. With the belief that Chase would turn him away out of hand.
The horrible part is that Chase was.
If House hadn't practically told him to go, Chase would've tried to get out of even speaking with Adam.
"One of us is sick," Adam tells him, looking down.
"Have you tried your powers?" Chase asks.
Adam nods. "She gets better for a few days, then gets worse again. I've tried everything I know. Antibiotics, antivirals. Gave them to her to the point where it boxed her kidneys, didn't make a dent. Morphine is just barely controlling the pain. I can't keep propping her up."
"If you haven't figured it out, what makes you think we will?"
"Because you're a better doctor than I am," Adam admits.
Chase almost smiles. "Maybe not. But I know a guy who is."
Adam raises an eyebrow. "Your boss?"
"Yeah. House is a bastard, but he's the best doctor I've ever known. Got her records?"
Adam reaches beside him into his messenger bag and hands the folder to his brother. Chase looks them over.
"If House doesn't take the case, I'll find someone who will," Chase promises. "Where is she right now?"
"My apartment," Adam says. "I couldn't think of anywhere else safe."
"You think they'll find you here?" asks Chase. "I mean, it's sort of an obvious place to look."
"Why do you think I changed my name? I don't think they know I have a brother."
"Oh. I thought you were just being clever."
"Not that clever," Adam says, with a little laugh.
"You can have her there when House takes the case?"
"In a split second," Adam replies, snapping his fingers. Then, quietly, he adds, "Thank you."
Chase closes the folder and looks at his brother. He can start to see signs that, in any other person he was caring for, he'd have noticed long ago. Bags under the eyes and a little more leanness than is absolutely healthy. The signs of Adam's only real sickness: the need to fix everyone and everything.
So much so that he can hardly pay attention to his own life. His own brother. He even when he really must have wanted to.
Even when his brother needed him.
"When's the last time you slept?" Chase asks.
"Friday," Adam answers.
"It's Monday," Chase says.
"Well, technically it's Tuesday in the place where I last slept," Adam says, smiling.
Chase fishes in his pocket and takes out his keys. He pries off a big brass key and tosses it to Adam, who catches it with a surprise.
"I'll call you when House takes the case," Chase says. "Get some sleep, and let yourself in the regular way for once."
Adam smiles. "You'll take care of her?"
"I said I would, didn't I?" Chase asks back. "I'll see you when I get off. It'll be about nine."
He leaves his brother sitting at a stone table with empty wrappers and walks back towards his car.
House is, as expected, brimming with questions and looks and for that matter, so are Cameron and Foreman.
"So how was the family reunion?" asks House.
Chase slaps the folder down on his desk. "Productive."
"Our next case," Chase says.
House smiles. "That's so cute, you two trading patients. Unfortunately, this is *not* a family business."
"We are taking this case."
"And why would that be?"
"Because my brother asked me to," Chase answers, firmly. He can tell that House is sizing up his determination. He leans forward a little more. And for the first time, he has absolutely no fear of what House will say or do.
He doesn't care what questions House wants to ask or how miserable House intends to make him.
"Maybe your brother should refer all his patients," House says, with a troublesome smirk on his face. And he opens the folder.