I don’t own House or BTVS. No infringement is intended. Sadly, no profit will be made from this either.
Walking towards yet another cemetery, Buffy pondered the phone call she just had with Giles. There'd been a minor crisis that needed dealing with, so he hadn't been able to reach her immediately after he talked to Lisa Cuddy. At least the crisis had been dealt with straight away.
She knew. Her mother knew that Giles had found her daughter. Namely Buffy. Now it truly was for her to decide when to make the next step.
If was funny. Buffy had faced so many monsters, demons and apocalypses in her life yet nothing had been as scary as the prospect of walking up to the woman that had given birth to her. Well, walking up to her and introducing herself as her daughter.
At first Buffy hadn't been sure if she even wanted to do that. Especially as she had had a mother who had truly loved her. Wouldn't meeting her biological mother mean betrayal of Joyce Summers? To get a grip on that question had been the reason for applying for that position at Princeton-Plainsboro. But now, after having actually met her, Buffy knew her biological mother was a good woman. In fact, she and Joyce would probably have gotten along quite well.
Buffy had also realised that her mom wouldn't have wanted Buffy to avoid her biological mother just to avoid hurting her, Joyce's, feelings, especially given the circumstances that led to Buffy's adoption. No, she couldn't use her mom's feelings as excuse to not confront her biological mother anymore and, Buffy realised, she didn't want to either.
Last, but not least, Dawn liked her. Well, as much as you can like a person after a short phone call anyway. Still, Dawn was usually pretty good at judging people. As long as they weren't demons or vampires, that is. In those situations her radar had been known to be off now and then.
Sighing, Buffy kicked a stone that had the misfortune of lying in her way. Unfortunately, knowing what she wanted to do and actually doing it were two completely different matters.
Rolling her neck, Buffy entered the cemetery. At least here she knew what to do.
She might be unable to run away from officially meeting her biological mother forever, but for tonight she had a good excuse. She had a small nest of vampires to kill.
House frowned. Wilson had seemed to be extra gloomy these last couple of days. He hadn't even complained or moaned at having to pay for House's lunch. Something was definitely going on here.
He was about to comment on it when the cafeteria doors opened and his favourite physiotherapist entered. The Wilson mystery forgotten for the moment, House let his eyes roam over her body. Interestingly, or rather, oddly, it wasn't to check her out per se. He was actually looking for any more injuries.
The expression on Wilson's face, on the other hand, became even grumpier once he realised the reason for the playful smile on House's lips. He had to do something to stop this madness. He didn't want House to go down the same road as …, he couldn't even think that name!
Of course, with House you couldn't just go to him and say you have a bad feeling about a person. If anything, it would make him more interested in her! Frustrated, and unable to stand House grinning at Buffy Summers any longer, Wilson crumpled his napkin and pushed his half eaten fries away. He stood up abruptly, ignoring House's raised eyebrows. "I have to go."
"Gee, I wouldn't have guessed that," House snorted. Unfortunately Wilson hadn't even waited for a reply but went straight for the door. Shrugging, House pulled Wilson's fries over and got comfortable again to watch Buffy from across the room.
"What now?" Cuddy snapped into her phone - and flinched. She knew the interruption wasn't her secretary’s fault, but part of her job. Making a mental note to apologise later, Cuddy took several calming breaths before answering the phone. Snapping at potential new donors wouldn't exactly help the hospital.
After what seemed like ages, Cuddy put the phone down again. At least the time hadn't been wasted and the hospital had a nice check coming its way. However, the habitual smile didn't want to come as easily as it usually did. She just couldn't stop thinking of her daughter.
What would she look like? How would she react to her? What would she think of her? What exactly had Giles told her about the circumstances of her adoption? Would she really believe it wasn't Cuddy's fault, that Cuddy really hadn't wanted to give her up for adoption? That she had basically been brainwashed into doing so? What was her name so she could stop referring to her as 'her'? Would she actually turn up in the first place? And the questions went on and on before starting again all over again. It was like a tape being played on an endless loop.
Just as the tape reached its end and was about to start again, the door to her office opened – yet nobody entered. Then, very slowly, the bottom part of a cane followed by a foot appeared. Leaning back in her chair, not knowing if she should be annoyed or thankful for the interruption, Cuddy watched as the top of House's head appeared sideways until his eyes locked onto her.
Seeing her raised eyebrows, House quickly stepped in, calling back over his shoulder. "Don't go and call that S.W.A.T. team just yet. I might actually get away without one." Entering the office fully, House closed the door behind him and, leaning onto the cane in front of him with both of his hands, eyed Cuddy closely. "Can't be PMS, it's too early. I've been good the last couple of days too, so that can't be it either. So, spill, what's wrong?"
Glaring at him, Cuddy crossed her arms in front of her and actually pouted. Seeing the corner of House's mouth raise slightly at her actions didn't exactly help either. "Nothing." Well, apart from everything, that is.
Limping closer, House finally settled on the chair in front of her desk. "Nothing. Maybe it's the same nothing that has Wilson brooding for the last couple of days?"
Tapping his fingers on Cuddy's desk in an unconscious melody, House frowned. There were deep shadows under her eyes that even the make-up hadn't been able to cover completely. "What's wrong?" House repeated, more gently this time.
Cuddy just shook her head. "Nothing." At House's snort, she added resigned, "Nothing you – or I – can do anything about anyway. And what's wrong with Wilson?"
"Nice try to change the topic." Watching her closely, House finally nodded. He'd allow her to get away with it for now. He'd just have to find other ways to figure out what was bothering her so much that it caused sleepless nights. "And I'll even pretend it worked."
A small smile playing around her lips, Cuddy nodded in relief, even though she knew it was nothing but a little delay.
"As for Wilson," House said, "He's been nothing but broody and grumpy for the last couple of days. And he's given me over 100 bucks already and I don't think he's even aware of it."
"I'll see what I can find out," Cuddy promised. "Don't spend that money just yet. Now go and do some of the things you're actually being paid for," she added more administrator-like than she'd been since that call from Giles. Even her previous conversation with the donor had been more show than anything else.
House stood up and cocked his head. "Feeling better?"
Smiling, Cuddy pointed towards her door. "Out!"
Bowing, House grinned. "Yes, mistress." And left without further ado.
So much for feeling better, Cuddy huffed. House's little intermezzo had lasted for the remainder of her work-day, but now it was fading quickly.
It had only been a few days since Giles told her that her daughter knew about her. Logically, Cuddy accepted that her daughter needed to contact her in her own time. But after all those years, her heart was filled with nothing but yearning for her child. Which, of course, kept her awake at night too. And there was only so many sleepless nights she could handle before her work would be starting to suffer.
Well, who was she kidding? Her work had started to suffer already.
No, this couldn't go on.
She needed a distraction. Something to make her stop thinking.
Throwing a calculating look at her bedroom door, she finally nodded. Quickly getting out of her work clothes, Cuddy took a long and hard look through her wardrobe before coming up with the right outfit.
Tonight she was going out.
Despite having to work tomorrow.
And she didn't plan on paying for more than her first drink.
Smiling approvingly, she removed one of the bolder outfits. One she would never wear at official functions.
House flipped through the channels, bored by every single program on that night. Taking another sip of his beer, he considered paying some attention to his piano. Naw. Calling Wilson was out of question too, he was just no fun nowadays. Cuddy. That might work. Grinning evilly, he pulled out his phone.
"Hello-o?" A very un-administrator like voice answered.
Eyebrows shooting towards his hairline, House asked, "Cuddy?"
"Well, well." House whistled. Boy, did Cuddy sound well on her way to being completely plastered. And judging by the background noise, she wasn't exactly sitting at home, hugging an empty bottle of wine. "Enjoying yourself?"
Cuddy nodded. Realising she actually needed to articulate her answer for some reason or other, she started to giggle at her mistake. "Yup."
"Mind if I join you?" Well, it would definitely be more interesting than all those brainless shows or repeats on his telly. And maybe, an annoying little voice said, he wanted to make sure she got home alright.
"The more the mar… the merrier." Cuddy's voice slurred a bit, but she managed to give him the name of the bar and directions without too much trouble. She might be drunk, but she hadn't reached the state where the night would be mystery come morning. Not yet anyway. Closing the phone with a smile, Cuddy turned back to her group of admirers.
Cuddy was slowly drawn back to consciousness by the insistent pounding of thousands of little hammers in her skull. Groaning, she opened her eyes – only to close them as fast as she could. Light seemed to increase the frequency of afore-mentioned hammers by at least ten-fold.
Eyes still closed, Cuddy became slowly more aware of her surroundings. Judging by the fur on her tongue, she was going to die of thirst if the little men with the hammers in her head failed to finish the job.
Moving slowly, trying to find a more comfortable position, she suddenly found herself cursing at gravity. It just wasn't fair. Not only was she first battered to death and about to die of thirst afterwards, no, she was also falling into an abyss.
Okay, the last bit might have been an overstatement. She'd already landed and was still breathing, after all. But why would she fall off her bed in the first place? It's not like it was small or anything. Wriggling her fingers, she found her right arm and hand to be working better than the left. One reason might be her body actually trapping her left arm underneath it, but in her current condition she wouldn’t swear to it either.
Letting her hand roam around her, Cuddy finally furrowed her brows. That didn't feel like her bedroom.
That realisation was as good as a bucket of cold water and Cuddy shot up and opened her eyes. Once the world settled around her again, since when do we get earthquakes in New Jersey anyway, she slowly took in her surrounding.
And sighed in relief.
She was at home. Okay, she hadn't made it to her bedroom. But the couch didn't look that uncomfortable either. Despite her neck arguing against that latest statement quite vigorously.
Even better, there was no unknown – or known, for that matter – man in close proximity. Or clothes lying about.
No cane either.
Besides, looks like she was still fully clothed.
Wrinkling her nose at her, well, wrinkled clothes, Cuddy carefully made her way into the kitchen. She really needed some water. Once her thirst was quenched, she walked towards her bathroom. Thankfully she knew her house by heart, so she didn't need to open her eyes more than a tiny bit. A fact her head was utterly grateful for. That and the promise of Tylenol from the medical cabinet in the bathroom.
Rolling her neck, carefully, to get rid of some of the kinks coming from sleeping on her couch, Cuddy started to strip as soon as she reached the bathroom. Almost blindly grabbing the Tylenol, Cuddy swallowed it dry and quickly got rid of the excuse for a skirt she'd been wearing last night. Throwing it vaguely in the direction of her laundry basket, or at least into close proximity of her just as skinny top, Cuddy lifted the toilet lid to give her bladder the relief it had been begging for ever since she had woken up.
Sighing, her hands moved to her hips to pull her panties down.
Only to find them missing.
--A/N: Ops. *shakes head* How did that happen?
Anyway, I hope you liked it! Thanks for all the reviews again, Muse really, really loves them! Well, me too. A special thanks goes toMistress of the Knigh for beta-reading this chapter. Oh, and I'll be away for most of next week and I don't know if I'll have any internet access. So you'll probably have to wait a week for the next update...