I don’t own House or BTVS. No infringement is intended. Sadly, no profit will be made from this either.Chapter 10
Over the next week Buffy found excuses over excuses to visit the children's ward. Including the current weekend on which she decided to work rather then wait, twiddling her thumbs. At night, she just sneaked in. She had plenty of experience in that department after all. She also talked to several of the children but they hadn't seen anything. Or knew anything, for that matter. Seemed like whatever was causing these deaths was more cautious than Der Kindstod.
She also made a habit of entering the hospital through the open clinic, passing by Brenda, but all the nurse did was shake her head at her. She hadn't sensed another spike in fear either.
Of course, on the one side it was good as it meant no more demon deaths. On the other side, though, did the waiting grate on Buffy's nerves. Which wasn't all that unusual. Just as the amount of sleep she seemed to need these days was rather unusual. At least Dr Marmine was giving her a bit of space at the moment.
Sighing, she walked through the quiet children's ward for a last time. Still nothing. Shrugging her shoulders, she went to the stairs and left the hospital just as quietly and unseen as she had entered it over an hour earlier.
With the moon shining brightly and stars blinking all over the night sky – to her slayer eyes anyway as they weren't impaired by the city lights around her – Buffy decided to enjoy the warm night and take the long way home. Maybe there was some activity on the nearby cemetery. After waiting for a fight night after night and not finding any demon activity in the hospital she was really itching for a good ol' fight by now. Besides, on a night being as nice as it was, there were bound to be, to quote Spike, more happy meals on legs about. Something even the stupidest of vampires was aware of. Well, most of them anyway.
Sure enough, even before entering the cemetery of her choice, she was attacked. Unfortunately the vampire was smelling bad enough to make her nauseous – another new thing – so she didn't play as long as she would have liked to but went on killing it with a swiftness Giles would be very proud off.
Brushing the few remaining bits of vampire dust off her clothes, she closed her eyes and listened to her surroundings. It didn't take long before she could make out several more voices in the distance. As in coming from the same direction the middle of the cemetery was located. Hopefully those guys had a better body hygiene than the very dead vampire in front of her. Or whatever was left of him. After that little nothing more than an appetiser fight, she was really needing a good main meal, well fight, now.
Coming closer, she could distinguish six different voices. Five male and one female who seemed to be in the middle of an argument. While unsuccessfully trying to be quiet. Which made for quite an entertainment value. Not so much for secrecy, though.
Buffy was doing a wide arch around them until the wind was coming from their direction, thus making the voices sound much clearer, despite the still large-ish distance between them. Her whole body twitching in anticipation, Buffy slowly but surely closed in on them. And stopped in confusion.
She still didn't get any vibes of the weird kind. And she had heard that particular voice before. Furrowing her brow while trying to figure out just where that thought had come from, another voice, just as familiar, joined into the conversation. Staying in the shadows, she walked closer until she finally got a good look at the group in front of her.
Groaning, just in time remembering to keep the groan in her head, Buffy let herself sink onto the ground, leaning against an old headstone.
House's fellows. Or rather his possible new fellows. The remaining ones anyway. Go figure. He probably only hired them to make her life miserable. Bastard.
Letting her head fall against the headstone with a quiet resigned thud, Buffy closed her eyes. So much for getting a good fight in tonight. Now she'd have to stick around and make sure they'd be safe. Once they were finally done – which she hoped would be soon – it'd be too late to look for the fight she'd been itching for. If she wanted to get a few hours of sleep in anyway.
A little while ago he'd stuck a knife of all things into a power socket. Just because a patient, a dead one at that, had claimed the 97 seconds he'd been dead after an accident had been the best in his life.
Now his fellows were digging up a body. On a Sunday of all days. Didn't they have a life? Like- okay, scratch that.
But what came next?
Where they trying to revive
said body? Maybe so House could ask him about his death experience so far?
Urgh, she so didn't want to go there. Now she'd probably have nightmares again. Nevertheless, despite not really believing they would, she'd have to keep a close eye on them to be really sure. With House, as she'd learned in the few weeks since meeting him, with House you could never be careful enough.
It took them another hour, through which the last remaining fellow turned up with coffee, until they were finally done.
Following them to their cars, making sure they got there safely, Buffy let out a long suffering sigh once the fellows were gone. So much for her plans. Turning, and pouting just a little bit, she headed into the opposite direction. Home.
Frustrated by not being able to scratch the I-really-need-to-fight itch she opened her apartment door – and found her answering machine blinking frantically at her.
Monday morning found Cuddy looking into her suspiciously empty email inbox. Or at least empty of the reply she'd been hoping for. It had been more or less a week and she was still no step closer to finding Mr Giles. Maybe loosing contact several years ago hadn't been such a bright idea after all. Worse, the only reply she got from her friend Mary-Ann Karuchi – after being unable to reach her by phone – was an out of office message. She was only coming back tomorrow, so hopefully, after a long, long week, Cuddy would finally get the answer she needed.
Glaring at her inbox for another minute, Cuddy's thoughts were interrupted by the door to her office opening. Without a knock.
"What!" she barked without looking up.
"Oh my. Someone missed her morning quickie," House replied as if talking to a small child, shaking his head disapprovingly.
Glaring at him with the same viciousness her inbox had experienced only seconds before, Cuddy all but shouted, "House!"
"What?" he asked innocently, his eyes opening wide in mock-shock at her accusation laid voice. "Did you have some chocolate or not?"
Cuddy just looked at him in confusion. "Huh?"
Shaking his finger at her, he grinned mischievously, tilting his head. "You and your dirty mind."
Rolling her eyes at him, she nevertheless smiled back. If nothing else, he had managed to chase her bad mood away. Hopefully it wasn't back by the time he left again.
Or, considering who he was, even before that.
Before Buffy left for home that day, she knew everything she needed to beat the demon. At least Giles was pretty sure it was a Sha-whatever thingy, living off the invisible energy that comes with healing children. Or something like that. She hadn't really listened to that part of the explanation. All she needed to know was that it only went for kids that had been seriously ill but were improving. Only during that phase were they tasty to the Shardiduda-or-such demon.
Being a baddie, it also took its time in killing his prey. Buffy thought Giles, or was it Dawn, mentioned something about more or less marinating the child in its own fear, improving the taste or something disgusting like that. Which was probably the reason Brenda could feel the slow build-up of fear – and its lingering remains once the child was dead. It was one of the more horrible things Buffy had come across so far.
But she was going to stop it. Once and for all.
To kill the demon, she'd have to cut it's head off – but only after severing all four tentacles coming out from the back of it's neck. The same four tentacles it uses to pin its prey down. Otherwise the stupid head would just grow again. Apparently this was a demon whose brain really was living further south. Well, not that far south, but in the neck thingy. And the tentacles. Talk about a big brain. Urgh. She was so going to have brain splashed all over her!
At least, according to Giles anyway, she should be able to see it. Other than Der Kindstod only the victim, once pinned down, was able to see the demon. Unless you are a Slayer. Or a demon. Or a Wicca. Or a … well, anyone tinted with a certain amount of the supernatural, really.
What worried her the most, though, was its apparent love for really, really brightly coloured clothes. So bright, in fact, that Dawn suggested to maybe wear sunglasses. Then again, hearing her sister's muffled giggles, she wasn't sure how serious she was about that particular fact. At least it meant Dawn wasn't too worried that Buffy wouldn't be able to handle the Sha-duda thingy. Which, in itself, was strangely comforting.
Once home, Buffy quickly changed into more slayage suitable clothing, getting the Scythe and various other bladed weapons out of their hiding place. Because, just before she had left the hospital, Brenda had called her, saying that the fear was slowly, but steadily, rising.
As soon as the dark would help to disguise her, and the hospital was empty enough for her to sneak in unseen, Buffy was on her way. True, she would have preferred to start earlier, as the demon obviously was already there, but there were simply too many people around. She wouldn't be able to fight without bringing even more people into danger. Despite taking a Willow-made amulet that would muffle any noise coming from the room Buffy was in.
Taking another deep breath, Buffy closed the apartment door behind her.
And hoped to finish before midnight. Because then it would be Tuesday. Which would be so not of the good.
A glass of wine next to her, Cuddy was curled up on her couch, going through some acquisition forms she had brought home from work. They were always easier to handle if the right amount of alcohol was involved. Especially those signed by a certain person named after a building. Smiling at that thought, Cuddy declined yet another request for a personal massage chair for his office.
She was about to take another sip of her wine when the phone rang. Sighing, she put her current file down and answered the phone. Only to have the file slide down to the floor when her former psychotherapist turned friend Mary-Ann Karuchi answered.
As it turned out, she had just come back from her holiday and, unable to stop herself, had quickly checked her office mail from home. Upon seeing Lisa's request for a quick reply regarding an urgent message, she had dug out her old phone book and called. They might only talk a few times a year now, but that didn't mean she wouldn't take an urgent from Lisa seriously. Especially as they were still close despite their busy schedules.
"So you don't have a current contact number for Rupert Giles?" Cuddy asked, disappointment evident in her voice. She had quickly told Mary-Ann about the happenings in the hospital and the grain of doubt unknowingly sown by her best, yet most annoying, doctor.
Mary-Ann agreed it sounded at least a bit fishy. And asking the experts wouldn't hurt. "Sorry. I tried the last number I had already. The line is disconnected. As are two other numbers I have. I still have an email address that should get the answer you need, but it might take a while."
Sighing, Cuddy nodded, even though she knew Mary-Ann wouldn't see her. "Damn."
Taking a deep breath, Cuddy asked, "Could you sent an urgent email to that address please? Or give it to me?"
"I've sent it as soon as you told me what was going on," Mary-Ann replied, a smile evident in her voice.
"Thanks." Closing her eyes in relief, Cuddy took another sip of her wine to hopefully calm her slightly shaking hands.
"You're welcome. Now, tell me, how are you coping with all of this?" Mary-Ann asked concerned. She hadn't know Lisa Cuddy for years for nothing. Therefore she had a pretty good idea how much it would affect her.
Sighing deeply, Cuddy went on to quietly tell her friend about the breakdown in her office, that had surprised even herself.
It was official.
Buffy really should have brought the sunglasses. She already had to put her fashion sense into a dark, dark corner of her mind in order to save it from dying a horrible and very painful death.
She was currently looking into the room of a little boy. He was pinned to his bed by what could only be described as with eye-hurting bright, very, very long, neon-green socks covered tentacles. At least, by the looks of it, the boy seemed to be asleep and as of yet unaware of what was happening to him. Or the fashion atrocity doing the deed.
According to Giles, there was a possibility that the first step of 'marinating' was done by subconscious fear. Fear that was fuelled through nightmares induced by the demon. But, it being the first step also meant she should have more than enough time to save the boy.
Sighing in relief, Buffy first made sure she was still alone in the corridor before taking another look at the demon.
Talk about bad taste. The neon-green tentacles were attached to a humanoid enough looking body, covered in what looked like a bright yellow and pink striped, the whole-body covering and unfortunately very tight, spandex suit.
Oy, she really, really
should have brought the sunglasses. At least then the colours wouldn't be so bright.
Shaking her head for a final time – no matter what, that image would haunt her for years to come – she opened the door and entered the boys room, her favourite Valley Girl personality showing bright and clearly.
Catching his eyes, Buffy waved happily at him. "Hi. My name is Buffy. What's yours?"
--A/N: Thanks for all your reviews! Muse is pretty chuffed, I have to say. Still, she insists on going her own way, not always telling me what she's up to. Sometimes I'm just as surprised when reading what I'm typing… But, she also shared some very nice future scenes with me. Hehe.