Disclaimer: I still don't own either canon.
Author's Note: As is so often the case with the muse, when it rains, it pours. My updating is not contingent on reviews (as you've probably noticed), but I am really grateful for them.
"You have a sister?" Foreman asked, giving Chase a look.
"Your sister is hot?" House asked, mimicking Foreman's contained surprise and giving Cordelia a slightly lascivious look, as much to irk Chase as to actually appraise the girl's more asthetic qualities.
"She's thirteen," Chase said. "Or possibly fifteen. Something like that."
"I can see that you're a very dedicated older brother."
Chase didn't let House's words get to him and pushed down the twinge of guilt he felt at the truth behind that particular piece of sarcasm. He started towards the door, wondering two things: how his sister had come to be in this particular hospital and when exactly she'd started looking like a twenty-five year old adult film actress?
"Cordelia?" Chase said the name hesitantly, still unsure whether or not this girl- who looked far older than fifteen- was actually the baby sister he saw twice a year, at Christmas and on their father's birthday. He'd managed to avoid both occasions the year before, so it had been some time since he'd seen or talked to her. This whole thing was probably just his subconscious reminding him that Cordy hadn't died when their mother did and that he did owe her some allegience, if only because he'd grown up in a home as cold as the one he knew was responsible for her trademarked princess attitude, which reminded him all too much of the stepmother he despised.
"Bobby?" Cordy spun around.
"Bobby?" House mouthed, coming to stand beside Chase.
"What are you doing here?" Chase asked his sister, pointedly ignoring House.
"Hello! Do you ever check your cell messages? What are you doing, like, screening dad's calls? Do the words 'tax fraud' mean anything to you? How 'bout the word bankrupt? And my personal favorite- why the hell haven't you called me back?"
"That last one was eight words," House said helpfully, "and one of them was a contraction."
Cordelia rolled her eyes, completely unintimidated. "I can count," she told him, throwing herself into full-on Queen C mode. It had been a long few days, and she wasn't in the mood to let anyone- least of all some jerk with a cane- see her vulnerable side. She was Cordelia Chase. She was beautiful and she was popular and she was rich. Or at least, she had been. Now, she wasn't sure what she was.
brainy," House told Chase, forcing faux excitement into his voice. "It must run in the family."
Chase ignored House's sarcasm, but his younger sister was not so inclined.
"I don't know who you think you are, Limpy McLimperson," Cordelia spat out, "but this is a private conversation, so why don't you just shuffle back to whatever hole you crawled out of and give yourself the happy so that the females of this world don't have to look at you again, okay?"
House, at once at a loss for words, turned to look at Chase, whose expression bordered somewhere between shocked, scandalized, and in severe pain.
"Dr. Chase," House said, finally regaining his voice. "I do believe your sister just told me to-"
"House," Chase bit out. "Could you please just give us a moment?"
House opened his mouth and closed it again, the mocking expression never leaving his face. "Sure," he said drolly. "I'll just go..." He made eye contact with Cordelia, and his voice took on an ironic lilt. "...give myself the happy."
Chase came close to dying of mortification, but his younger sister just snorted and then shuddered. "Eww," she said shrilly. "A world of ewww."
"Buffy?" Cameron's voice was quiet as she went to stand next to her half-sister's bed. She didn't know what she'd expected when she'd hopped on a plane to Los Angeles, but this- the drab room, Buffy shackled to the bed- wasn't it.
"Who's there?" Buffy asked, her voice full of the woozy drugged feeling that had taken over her body. Inside of her, the slayer was screaming that they had to escape, to destroy, to survive, but Buffy couldn't concentrate on anything long enough to make her body do what it was told. She had the strength, but she didn't have the will, and deep down, she was scared that if she let herself be the slayer, she might end up some place far worse than this.
"Buffy, it's me." Cameron didn't know why she said those words. It wasn't like she expected the other girl to remember her. They hadn't seen each other in almost fourteen years, and even then, Elizabeth- no, Buffy, she corrected herself- had just been a baby. "My name is Allison Cameron."
"Are you the secretary?" Buffy asked, her eyes narrowing.
The secretary? Cameron was at a loss, and then she remembered. Buffy's father had taken off with his secretary. "No, Buffy, I'm not. I'm a doctor."
Buffy did not react well to those words. She pushed herself instinctively back into the bed, her eyes narrowing as she did. Something about her reminded Cameron of a caged animal- frightened to death and on the verge of fighting to the same.
"Oh, Bethie," Cameron said softly. Of all the nicknames, that one had always been her favorite.
"Buffy," the other girl corrected. She'd lost so much since coming here, but she still had her name. She was Buffy Summers. Or maybe not Summers, since her father had abandoned her, but she was still Buffy. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
No, not the slayer. It was because of being the slayer that she was here to begin with!
"I'm your sister," Cameron said softly, her soft-heart shattered at the circles under her sister's eyes and the look behind them. "I'm taking you out of here."
It was a rash decision, and probably a bad one. Cameron had no idea what the extent of Buffy's psychopathy was or how deep these "slayer" delusions went. For all she knew, being heavily medicated was a kindness, but she wasn't the type of person who could turn off her heart and think with her head, and every ounce of Allison Cameron's being was telling her to get Buffy out of this place, to take her away from here.
"Leave?" Buffy asked, a glimmer of hope and something slightly more animalistic glistening in her eyes.
Cameron nodded, knowing even as she did that she was getting in way, way over her head.
"Got any threes?"
Obligingly, Willow went fishing and came up with a three. Delighted, she held it up for her opponent to see. "Hah! Feel my wrath! I am the queen of threes! I am her royal threeness of..."
Willow's companion smiled at her nonsensical babbling. Good old Wills. Even here, in the hospital, she was a first class babbler and his very best bud.
"You know what, Wills, I was thinking that maybe I'd go see if I could score some blue jello from the cafeteria. Cause, you know, my aunt is apparently in charge of this place or something, and that should get us some free jello, don't you think?"
Willow smiled. "I do like blue jello," she said, but then she narrowed her eyes, suspicious. "Are you just doing this because you're losing?" she asked.
Xander Harris smiled. "Absolutely."
TBC... the main players start coming together a bit more...