I don’t own House or BTVS. No infringement is intended. Sadly, no profit will be made from this either.
Buffy was cooking up a storm while contemplating what to do next. Mark had been the one to introduce her to cooking without poisoning anyone and ever since his death, cooking had had a calming effect on her. Cooking and making fresh pasta, that is.
Especially now that she had so many decisions to make. Decisions that she should be making with Mark in the first place.
She was having a baby.
Buffy was still trying to wrap her head around that one. Yet she knew it to be true. She hadn't realised it at first, but when House switched on the foetal heart monitor it wasn't something she hadn't heard before. She just hadn't been able to place it before then.
Now that she really thought back Buffy realised it had started about a month ago. Just before falling asleep or waking up, she had started to hear a faint but quick 'bum-bum-bum-bum'. Today, just after she'd started cooking, it had hit her. It was the same sound she'd heard in the examination room. It was the heart-beat of her unborn baby.
To prove her theory, she concentrated, really
concentrated, on herself and eventually was able to make out the faint 'bum-bum-bum-bum' coming from her belly. Now that she consciously listened for it, she could tune in without much effort.
Which became more and more reassuring the longer Buffy thought about it.
Now she only had to deal with a million other things coming with it.
Like telling Dawn and everyone else.
And - oh god!
Realisation hitting hard, she picked up the phone and pressed one of the speed-dial buttons.
It was Friday night and Wilson was contemplating once more how to best approach the topic of Buffy Summers with House. Finally he cursed in annoyance and left his office. Thinking about it wasn't doing him any good. No, he'd get food, enough beer to get drunk and simply turn up on House's doorstep.
And that's what he did.
Now, looking at the scattered boxes of Chinese food on House's couch table, Wilson was sullenly looking at his beer bottle.
House, finally having enough of moody Wilson, nudged him with his foot. "You're making the food go off just by looking at it. I won't let that atrocity happen any longer. So spill."
"Hey," Wilson pouted. "I bought the food."
"So?" House asked unimpressed. "I'm the one providing the couch you're sitting on. Did you get married once more without telling me and your wife has already thrown you out again?"
"What?" Wilson asked completely confused.
House just shrugged his shoulders. "What
what? Serves you right for not inviting me to the wedding."
"House! I'm not married again!" Wilson exclaimed exaggerated. "This is about Buffy Summers, not me!"
House smirked. He never failed to get Wilson telling him what he wanted to hear. Independent of Wilson intending to do so or not. "Okay. Don't worry, I'll be your best man even though it won't work."
"I am not marrying her!" Wilson all but screamed. "She's too dangerous!"
was unexpected, House thought.
"Dangerous?" he asked in disbelieve. "Is she squeezing her real evil self into a 5'2'' petite suit before coming to work or something?"
Wilson jumped up, pacing in front of the couch. "That's not funny!"
Raising his eyebrows, House watched his friend in puzzlement. He really had no idea what Wilson was talking about. But it just increased the enigma called Buffy Summers. Because, in his experience, no matter how much rubbish people were talking about, there usually was a bit of truth hidden somewhere. Still, despite his pessimistic outlook on humankind in general, House just couldn't see Buffy as being evil.
Finally, House spoke up again, "So what evil things have you seen her commit?"
Stopping mid-motion, Wilson turned to House in confusion. "None," he finally admitted. "But I was told by-"
"Rubbish!" House interrupted unsympathetically. "Everybody lies."
"Cliff Marmine said something along the lines too," Wilson pouted, his arms crossed defensively.
"He's an idiot," House snarled.
"House," Wilson replied in a tired voice, having calmed down considerably. "He's not an idiot. Besides, last time I talked to him Miss Summers was nowhere to be found, leaving her co-workers to pick up her afternoon appointments."
"Cuddy sent her home," House explained half-heartedly, his attention distracted by the mud-wrestling match he'd found on the telly. "Marmine must have forgotten to mention it to you."
"Huh?" Sitting down with a thud, Wilson grabbed the remote control from House's lap and switched the telly off.
"Hey! I was watching that!"
"Wilson," House whined in his most annoying voice.
Sighing, Wilson switched the telly back on, but kept it muted. "Miss Summers," Wilson prompted again.
"Oh! Played Robin Hood. Helped the poor. Saved the hospital from bad publicity. The works," House said, his head leaning heavily to one side as he watched the match. The views were simply better that way.
"What?" If anything, Wilson was even more confused like before.
Rolling his eyes at his friend, House turned to Wilson. "Buffy prevented a robbery on hospital grounds and got stabbed for her efforts. I stitched her up, Cuddy came in being all thankful, took a look and sent her home."
Snatching the remote control – the next match was about to start and he wanted to actually listen in this time as well – House turned his attention back to the telly. "Yes. Now be quiet, I want to watch that."
Trying to figure out just how serious House was with his comments, Wilson finally gave up. He wouldn't get a clear idea until he found out if the robbery story was true. If it was, there might be another explanation as well. Like Buffy Summers actually working with the thugs and only when they got interrupted she played the hero to avoid getting caught. Yeah, that was more likely. The other thugs probably got away as well and the stabbing was just a little accident that turned out to support her lies. However, he wouldn't be able to convince either House or Cuddy until he got more proof.
So he'd wait and keep watching. And then he'd expose her evil ways and not even House would be able to contradict him.
Buffy was snuggling deeper into her bed, trying to ignore the evil person at her front door. Who would come to visit her in the middle of the night anyway? On a Saturday? Grumbling when the knocking wouldn't cease, Buffy opened her left eye to look at her alarm clock.
Not the middle of the night, then.
Groaning, she opened her other eye and slowly got up. She all but shuffled to the door and mumbled moodily along the way. Looking through the peephole, her eyes suddenly opened completely and she quickly removed the door chain and opened the two deadbolts.
"Faith," Buffy breathed out, relief clearly evident in her voice.
"Hey B," Faith replied while walking into the apartment. Looking at Buffy from top to toe, the smirk on her face grew even more. "Nice jammies."
Blushing, Buffy played with the hem of one of Mark's shirts she was wearing. It might have been too big, but it really wasn't covering all that much either.
Taking in the look of the apartment, Faith's eyebrows rose high enough to meet her hairline. "Whoa, B! No wonder you were still asleep!"
Every surface in the kitchen was covered with freshly made pasta. There were also several lines put up above the breakfast bar that were now covered by fresh spaghetti. And judging by what her nose was telling her, the big pot on the oven contained Mark's special pasta sauce. Tons of it. There was also the possibility of fresh lasagne hiding in the oven.
"What's the emergency? Demon?" Faith asked, still astonished by the sheer amount of pasta. Taking another look at Buffy though, who hadn't moved and looked suddenly rather lost where she was standing in the middle of her apartment, Faith continued much softer, "Personal?"
Buffy nodded. Angrily wiping at her eyes that threatened to spill over with tears – she'd called Faith less than twelve hours ago and here she was – Buffy grumbled, "Stupid hormones."
Cocking her head, Faith looked at Buffy with increased interest. Then, as Buffy's tummy started to rumble with hunger – only to be joined by her own, of course – she broke out into a grin again. "How about we have some of that pasta of yours and you tell me what's wrong?"
Not waiting for a reply, Faith walked around the breakfast bar and put a big pot of water on the stove. Shedding her leather jacket, she motioned towards Buffy's bedroom. "Shower."
Putting her hands onto her hips, Buffy pouted at Faith, "Hey! Right now I'm smelling much nicer than you!"
Smirking, Faith shrugged her shoulder, "Because you've perfected your sleepyhead impression while I've been riding my baby through the country. Besides, I can always take a shower later."
Eyes popping unnaturally wide open, Buffy literally stared open mouthed at the other slayer. "Baby?" She squeaked.
Now that was interesting, Faith thought with her eyes opening equally wide as Buffy's. She wasn’t, was
she? "I've got myself a new motorcycle and thought a little road trip would be just the right thing to try it out," Faith replied instead of asking the question that was really at the tip of her tongue.
"Shower," Faith repeated gently, smiling at her friend.
She couldn't help herself but feel protective of the older Slayer at the moment. While she always seemed so strong, Faith knew that Mark's death had really thrown her off. Although Faith could tell through their semi-frequent phone calls that Buffy was getting better, she really appreciated the trust that had been growing between them ever since Sunnydale went down a few years ago.
Buffy wasn't calling Dawn, Giles or the other original Scoobies first no matter what anymore. Now it dependent on the actual cause for the call. Some were still clearly Scooby-topics. But there were others when Faith was Buffy's first choice. And, judging by Buffy's relief on seeing her on her doorstep, this time was one of the latter cases. Although, if her suspicions were right, Faith wondered why.
And maybe she felt a tiny bit smug too.
Across town, House popped another Vicodin and kept on staring into his open wardrobe. Well, rather on the big sheet of paper he'd attached to the inside of its door.
There, in big bold letter, Buffy Summers could be read.
Underneath he'd written several words.Sarcastic.
Quick wit, no fear of using it against superiors.
Touchy when mentioning dead boyfriend fiancé.
Imposing presence when provoked.
Knowledge of martial arts.
Convincing Blonde act.
Connection to Cuddy????
Evil (Marmine – connection to Buffy?).
Twirling the pen around his fingers, House pondered on how all those things could be connected. Then, remembering something else, he added Sunnydale
Rubbing his hands together, he figured it was time for a little exploratory mission to her apartment. Marmine, the idiot, would help him by giving him her work-schedule. And then he'd hopefully find some answers.
"Wow," Faith said once Buffy told her everything that happened during the last week. "Though it's good, right?"
Buffy nodded, a small smile on her face. After finishing their meal, actually managing to make a dent in the fresh pasta and the special sauce, they had retired into the living room area of the apartment's open plan kitchen/dining/living room layout. This was the most personalised part of the flat as far as Faith was concerned. Although she hadn't been to Buffy's bedroom yet.
There were pictures of the extended Scooby-family – including herself – and Joyce scattered all over the wall while the artificial mantelpiece around the flat screen TV was dedicated to her relationship with Mark – without becoming a shrine to him. The couch, table, armchairs and cushions on the windowsill of the bay-window Faith recognised from Buffy's apartment in Rome. Most of the other furniture had come with the apartment but it actually worked to give a nice comfy feel to the apartment.
Absently playing with Mr Gordo, Buffy finally nodded in reply to Faith's question. She was sitting on the windowsill, legs tucked under her. "Yeah."
Smiling widely, Faith moved next to Buffy. "So, little B, huh?"
Buffy snickered. She was so glad Faith had come so quickly. More so, she wasn't passing on any unwanted advice but just joined into Buffy's joy. That was the reason she'd call her first instead of Dawn. Or Giles, Willow and Xander. Yes, they were her family and will be happy for her as well. But they'll probably go into overprotection mode right away and that was the last thing Buffy needed before she'd figured everything out.
"Need some Slayer help?" Faith continued.
"Thanks," Buffy replied, hugging Faith.
"Uhm. You're welcome?" Faith replied, uncertain of Buffy's new emotional release. "What for?"
"For asking, not just assuming I'll stop patrolling immediately," Buffy explained. "Even though I'm going to. So the answer would be yes."
"Cool." Faith said. Closing her eyes for a moment, she analysed all the Slayers under her wing. "How about Eve and Sondra? Eve's level-headed and learned pretty much everything I can teach her. Sondra is still a bit impulsive, but she and Eve are close. Besides, Sondra's family is from New York and she already asked for an assignment close to home."
Buffy nodded. That sounded good.
Faith, however, wasn't that pleased. Her face showing a mixture of shock and disgust, she said, "Oh my god! I suddenly sound all watcher-y and sensible!"
Snickering at Faith, Buffy patted her shoulders in consolation.
For the rest of the day they just lazed around, and, amongst other things, figured out the best approach to the two Slayer's relocation.
After appreciating Faith's new bike – a model that was fittingly going by Shadow Sabre – the two Slayers hugged for a final time. Securing her helmet, Faith started the machine and roared off back to Cleveland.
Watching her leave with a smile on her face, Buffy was truly glad she'd called Faith. While she still had to talk to everyone else, she saw the future much clearer now. Felt that she could make it work. On her terms. It would, hopefully, make it much easier to talk to Dawn and the rest of the Sunnydale crew. However, as soon as she entered her apartment, she decided procrastination was her newest friend.
Besides, it was probably the middle of the night in England anyway.
A glance at her watch told her it wasn't.
Damn. Stupid watch. Taking it off, she haphazardly threw it in the direction of her couch.
Exercise. Yes. That was it. She was pregnant and exercising was good for her. So the phone calls had to wait. What a shame.
Hiding her mobile, just so it couldn't jump her while she was busy avoiding it, Buffy quickly grabbed her keys again and left her apartment. Standing outside she looked up at the blue sky and decided a nice, long walk was as good as any other kind of exercise. She wasn't really in the mood for a run, so it was the best next thing. Besides, walking always helped her thinking things through.
Buffy had no idea how long she walked or where she was going. She was deep in thought and only looked up to cross streets and such. She went wherever parks and sidewalks would lead her. Still, when she finally felt something akin to thirst and took a closer look at her surroundings she was more than shocked to find herself on the very street she knew Lisa Cuddy was living in.
How did that happen?
Putting her hands over her belly, she closed her eyes and could hear her baby's heartbeat quicken for a second before it went back to it's normal pace. Suddenly the urgent need not only to drink but to pee arose. Opening her eyes, she moved her hands and looked down accusingly. "You! It's not very nice to have fun with your mommy, you know!"
Sighing, Buffy looked up and down the street. She really needed to pee now. And, considering it was a suburban neighbourhood, there was no public restroom in sight.
It wasn't like she could just walk up to a random house and ask to use their toilet. Could she?
However, there was one home she knew she'd be allowed to enter. Only this particular home would bring a complication or two. Or a million. But she wasn't counting.
Pouting, Buffy kept grumbling to her belly, while moving towards the number she knew belonged to Lisa Cuddy.
Her biological mother.
So much for avoiding to tell her family about her baby.
Ignoring everything around her once more, Buffy walked fiercely along the sidewalk. Not even taking a look at the outside of the house, Buffy went straight for the front door.
This, however, prevented her from seeing a certain motorcycle in the driveway.
As soon as she reached the door, she lifted her hand to knock before she could start to worry even more. She was about to knock again when she heard steps coming towards the door. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and waited for the door to open. Her thoughts must have drifted off again because the next thing she heard was the surprised voice of Lisa Cuddy.
"Buffy? What are you doing here?"
Opening her eyes quickly, Buffy blushed brightly. "Uhm… I was in the area, taking a walk?"
Cuddy just rose her eyebrows. "Didn't you mention you live close to the hospital?"
"I did? I do, I mean. Live close to the hospital," Buffy quickly replied.
"That's several miles away! You walked all that?" Lisa asked in astonishment.
"I like walking?" Buffy offered before her stomach decided to join her baby and bladder and disobey her too. Which meant it started to grumble loudly.
Rolling her eyes, Cuddy looked Buffy up and down. Children. "When is the last time you ate?"
Looking at her wrist, only to find her watch missing, Buffy shrugged her shoulders. "Dunno. Before I left, I guess."
"That must have been hours ago!" Cuddy exclaimed concerned, motioned Buffy to enter. "What about drinking?"
"Same," Buffy admitted sheepishly while crossing her legs. The mentioning of something to drink didn't exactly help certain urges.
Taking Buffy's arm, Cuddy lead her towards her dining area, pushing her into a chair. "Sit. I'll get you some water first."
Eyes opening comically wide, Buffy squealed quite desperately, "Bathroom?"
Shaking her head, Cuddy pointed Buffy in the right direction and went to get the promised drink from the kitchen. She might just as well get Buffy something to eat.
"So, picking up random hospital employees from the street now?" House asked with an amused grin. He'd listen to the conversation from the kitchen but decided to stay hidden from Buffy.
Looking him square in the eyes, Cuddy replied evenly, "Wouldn't be the first one, would it?"
Smirking, House followed her to the dining area. Cuddy, knowing House quite well after all those years, only put the glass of water on the table before continuing to the front door. Of course, just like she'd suspected, House followed her.
Opening the door, she stopped and turned to House who was eyeing her curiously.
Leaning against the wall, he hang his cane over his arm and smirked. "I'm not leaving. It's just getting interesting." In fact, the 'Connection to Cuddy?'
bit on his improvised blackboard had just been upgraded to big capital letters without any question marks.
Not even batting an eyelash, Cuddy grabbed his cane and threw it out onto her front lawn. Turning back to a flabbergasted House, she pointed towards the cane and only said one word. "Fetch!"
Using his astonishment, she manoeuvred him out the door and closed it right in front of his face. Grinning from ear to ear, she strolled back to her dining area, waiting for Buffy.
House, on the other side of the door, took a moment to realise just what had happened. Then a big grin spread across his face. He had trained her well. Raising his hand to demand entrance again, he suddenly stopped mid-motion. Throwing a calculating look between the door and his motorcycle, he let a wicked grin cross his features. Knowing Cuddy, she'd take her time mothering Buffy. Which would give him plenty of time to check out her apartment. Whistling, he went to pick up his cane before he got onto his motorcycle.
Meanwhile, Buffy was in the bathroom, fretting over her next move. Pacing in the small space, she tried to clear her head. Unfortunately it wasn't really working.
So, when Cuddy finally knocked on the door, asking if everything was alright, Buffy jerked the door open.
--A/N: Sorry for the delay, just couldn't find the time for final touches. But it's longer than usual ;). So… like it? Don't like it :P? Please tell me what you think! Thanks to all your replies to the last chapter, the sheer amount of them really blew my mind!
Anyway, ever woke up a domestic shouting match between your non-paying subtenants (I think they're sometimes referred to as mice…)? Not good and very scary. But I had my revenge! I taped up their main door! Ha! See how you run around my flat now! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!