It wasn't until almost an hour later that Sondra was ready to talk about what had happened to Eve. They were sitting in a designated waiting area close to the operating theatre Eve had been taken to. Allison had taken them there but, unfortunately, had to go back to work. However, she'd been able to tell Buffy that Chase was in the operating theatre with Eve.
While Sondra was still out of sorts, a police officer had stopped by, leaving a number for Sondra to call, as they'd need her witness statement. Buffy had nodded, completely forgetting to ask what had happened in the first place.
The first clue had come a little while later when a distraught, middle-aged man had appeared in the waiting area. He'd watched them uncertainly before coming over. Nervously playing with his hands, he'd asked Buffy for the injured girl's name so he and his family could include her in their prayers. Still not knowing what had happened, Buffy had asked him why and, after looking at her strangely, he had told her how Eve had pushed his son out of the way of a speeding car only to be hit by it herself. Buffy had closed her eyes at the image in front of her inner eye and given him Eve's name.
Now, with Sondra finally ready to talk, Buffy hoped to get a clearer picture of the situation.
Sondra leaned back into her chair, though she never lost contact with Buffy completely. After blowing her nose, she said quietly, "I'm supposed to be the impulsive one. Not Eve."
Buffy squeezed her hand in a comforting gesture. "What happened?"
"She just started running and pushed the kid out of the way." Sondra looked absently towards the far corner of the room. "I didn't notice anything. I don't know how she knew. I mean, it took a moment for me to run after her – and even then I didn't know why."
Shaking her head, Sondra blinked a couple of times before her eyes focused on Buffy. "We were coming back from an early lunch-break. Just chatting while we walked back to school. Suddenly Eve started running. I took too long to react. It's all my fault."
"No it's not," Buffy said with conviction. Waiting a moment, she asked, "What happened then?"
"I followed. Eve was running towards a boy who'd just started to cross the street. Then I saw the car speeding towards the kid. I already saw him being hit, but then Eve was there, literally throwing him out of harms way, straight into my arms." Fresh tears started to run down Sondra's cheeks as she continued to recall the accident. "Then Eve was flying through the air. I think she'd hit her head on the windshield cause she was all limp even before she hit the ground. I think her … her legs broke when they hit the curb."
"She'll be fine." Buffy didn't know what else to say, so she just kept stroking the younger slayer's back reassuringly.
House, having sent off his new fellows to run numerous tests on their newest patient, strolled along the hospital floors in search for some entertainment. Rounding a corner, he found just what he had been looking for.
Dr Lisa Cuddy was click clacking along the corridor.
House stepped right into her way, enjoying the way her annoyed huffing made her chest move up and down. Smirking at her, he deliberately let his eyes wander up and down her body until they ended up right on her chest again.
!" House whistled appreciatively. "Looks like mommy is feeding you all the good stuff lately."
Cuddy sighed – causing House's smirk to grow even further because it did wonders to her chest – and tried to push past House. "Go away."
"It's not my fault your puppies are seducing my innocent eyes. I mean you pushed them right into their field of vision! Now they don't wanna let go!" House said with a whining tone to his voice.
Cuddy grabbed his chin and forced his face up. "There you go. Now leave me alone."
House watched her go, pondering the distressed look he'd glimpsed in her eyes. Tilting his head, he watched her leave – and started to frown. Either he was starting to imagine things or the puppies weren't the only things Cuddy had worked on lately.
Intrigued, he changed his original direction and followed her – only to see her vanishing into one of the elevators. Luckily she was alone, so he at least knew which level she'd be heading to.
House stepped off the elevator and pondered on where to go next. Twirling his cane in his hands, he looked in every possible direction. Then he saw a nicely built nurse walking to the right and figured he might just as well enjoy the view while he was looking for Cuddy.
He was about to follow her around another corner when he heard the familiar sound of a particular pair of heels hitting the floor to his right. Sure enough, Cuddy was vanishing behind a door that lead to the waiting rooms near the operating theatres.
Giving the nurse one last lingering look, House changed directions and followed Cuddy.
"Buffy." Lisa quickly made her way to her daughter who was pacing up and down the waiting area.
Stopping, Buffy looked up and gave her mom a little wave. "What are you doing here?"
"Allison called." Taking Buffy's hand, she let her over to the chairs and was ready to push her into one of them when Buffy shook her head and moved a little further; finally sitting down next to a young woman Lisa hadn't seen before.
"This is Sondra. She was with Eve when the accident happened," Buffy explained. "And this is Dr Lisa Cuddy."
Sondra looked up hopefully. "Is Eve gonna be okay?"
Lisa gave her a reassuring smile. "Her internal injuries have been taken care off."
"Her legs?" Buffy asked.
"We'll have to wait and see. I honestly don't know."
Sondra pulled her legs up and hugged them close to her chest. "It's all my fault."
"No it's not," Buffy said determinedly. "It was an accident, okay? A bit of rest and she'll be as good as new."
Lisa touched her daughter's shoulder. "Uh, Buffy…"
Buffy held up her hand to stop her mom. "The girls are working for the IWC."
"Oh… oh!" Lisa felt a tiny bit better – the girl's chances for a full recovery had just improved a lot simply by being a slayer.
"House. What are you doing here?"
Swearing silently at the interruption – just when it started to get interesting too – House casually turned around to face Chase. "Resting. Bum leg, remember?"
Robert Chase, still clad in his scrubs, looked around the corner and shook his head. "You're spying on Cuddy. Or Buffy. Or both
House mimicked Chase's movement and looked over to Buffy and Cuddy. Opening his eyes in mock-shock, he put his right hand over his heart. "I honestly
didn't know they were here."
"Whatever." Chase gave House a disapproving look, not that it would do any good anyway, and walked over to them. "Hey."
Buffy jumped up immediately even though she'd barely sat down, looking at him with questioning eyes. Sondra followed suit, holding tightly onto Buffy's arm. "How's Eve?"
"She'll pull through." Chase said in his most reassuring tone. "She had a ruptured liver but it looked worse on the initial scan than it actually was. She still lost a lot of blood, but we've been able to stop the bleeding surprisingly easily."
Buffy released a sigh of relief and carefully tried to pry Sondra's hand off of her arm. She was thankfully wearing a long-sleeved top or they'd both be in a bit of trouble explaining how Sondra could cause such heavy bruising by simply squeezing her arm.
"That's great. Thanks." Buffy moved over and kissed his cheek. "Thanks."
Chase smiled, then sighed theatrically and called, "House. You can come out now." Looking apologetically at Cuddy, he added, "I found him lurking around the corner."
"He arrived just after Dr Cuddy," Sondra said.
"I know." Buffy sighed when House didn't make an appearance. "House! Make with the appearing. Or even disappearing. But stop
"You called?" House said innocently as he came around the corner and sauntered towards them. Silently, though, he wondered how both Buffy and her friend knew he'd been lurking in the first place.
Cuddy and Buffy rolled their eyes at him while Sondra gave him a careful once-over. Then she resumed her silent vigil, ignoring the people around her. They couldn't tell her anything new, so there was no reason to waste any energy on listening when she could spent it much more effectively on worrying about her close friend.
House made himself at home in one of the more comfortable chairs, putting his bad leg up a small table in front of his seat. Chase shook his head at House before excusing himself and getting back to work. He had another operation scheduled and needed to get something to eat first.
"I've got to go too." Eyeing House suspiciously, Lisa asked Buffy, "Want me to drag him out of here?"
Buffy gave her a genuine smile, feeling much better now that Chase had been able to give them some good news. "He'll just come running back later."
Lisa turned towards House, squinting her eyes at him. "Behave!"
House looked around as if he was looking for something. "Who? Me?"
"Ye-es, House, you."
"Yes mom! I mean, ma'am!" House said, smirking at Cuddy when she stopped short. They stared at each other for another minute before Lisa huffed and left.
While House and her mom were busy staring at each other, Buffy eyed him suspiciously. She could have sworn his comment wasn't just a slip of tongue but absolutely intended. She'd have to ask Lisa later about the possibility of House knowing their secret.
House made himself even more comfortable and watched Buffy for a moment before asking, "So, the kid over there's working for the IWC? Same guys that sponsored your charity run?"
Buffy nodded absently while she looked worriedly at Sondra.
House tapped his chin with his forefinger thoughtfully. "What would two young woman do with an organisation dealing in mostly antique objects?"
Buffy stopped short. "Huh?" Seeing House's lopsided smirk, she took a deep breath and concentrated on his last remark. It took a moment before his words fully registered in her mind. "Oh. Uh. Student
jobs, you know. There's a lot of random stuff involved in the whole process. Dawn could give you this totally long and overly boring explanation but I … well, I frankly can't be bothered."
"Dawn?" She was working for the IWC too? House hadn't expected that. Not that he'd learned all that much about the mysterious company other than it was operating in a lot of places and - amongst other, unnamed things - that it was dealing with ancient artefacts and writings. This included checking the authenticity of said objects and translating obscure books and texts. For an appropriate fee, of course.
"Yep. She's working part-time as well. I mean, now that she's learning all those stuffy old languages she might just as well put them to good use," Buffy said.
"Why?" House asked. Dawn had seemed so fun and, in his books, ancient languages were … ordinarily boring.
"To call me names in languages I can't understand?" Buffy quipped.
Okay, that sounded much more like Dawn, House thought – and smirked.
Sighing, Buffy added, "She's got a real talent for languages, no matter how obscure. She's good at it and she loves it. Dawn likes to point out that translating an old text is like solving a puzzle. It takes a lot of patience and quite a bit of detective work to find all the right references and make sense of it."
Puzzles, now that was something House could understand – so he grinned even more. "Ah, puzzles! Speaking of which –" House tilted his head and took a closer look at the girl at Buffy's side. "Hey! Oh Sulking One!"
"House!" Buffy growled warningly while Sondra just shot him a death-glare.
"What? We haven't been introduced and she's sulking," House said with a shrug. "Hey! I'm talking to you!"
This time the death-glare was accompanied by an impressive growl. But, with House being House, it made him grin rather than discourage him.
"House!" Buffy repeated.
"What?" he said, blinking his eyes rapidly. "Just trying to help."
"It's not working." Buffy pointed out with a roll of her eyes. "Now leave Sondra alone."
"Fine." House closed his eyes and lifted his chin in a mock-pout. "Just wondered about her dislocated shoulder."
"Huh?" Buffy looked from House to Sondra and back. "What dislocated shoulder? Sondra?"
"'Tis nothing. Put it back in straight away," Sondra said dismissively. Turning to Buffy, she asked, "How long does this stupid operation take anyway?"
put it back in?" House asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "The janitor?"
Sondra growled again. "I
"Sondra," Buffy said gently, while being mad at herself for not noticing the way the younger slayer was favouring her right arm and shoulder – no matter how small the difference. "Let me have a look, please."
House watched with interest as Sondra let Buffy move her arm and shoulder around. She winced a tiny bit once or twice but went back to sulking almost immediately. Now that was interesting. The girl had just shrugged off a dislocated shoulder like it was nothing – almost like it was a normal occurrence. Maybe it was time to dig a bit deeper into the IWC. He quickly took his leave of them and left for his office to do just that.
Buffy watched Sondra sleep in a chair next to Eve's bed. Eve had come out of the operating theatre several hours ago and the orthopaedic surgeon had told them there was a good chance she'd make a full recovery from her leg injuries.
All in all, Buffy had been ready to go home – once she'd made sure Eve was waking up as expected from her anaesthesia. However, when Eve was halfway conscious again, she mentioned something about the accident that had made Buffy worry. So she had postponed a night in her own bed for watching over the two young slayers currently sleeping in front of her.
Buffy quietly made her way over to the window, staring out into the night, pondering Eve's recollection of the accident.
"Shouldn't you give the kid some rest?"
Buffy turned around in surprise before a small smile spread across her face. "Faith."
She was casually leaning against the doorframe wearing her biker outfit. She was smirking, but Buffy could even from the distance see the worry in her sister slayer's eyes.
Stroking her belly, Buffy said, "He prefers sleeping during the day."
"He?" Faith pushed herself off the doorframe and made her way into the room. She'd dropped her helmet and saddlebag next to the door and went straight over to Eve's bed. "How is she?"
"She'll be fine," Buffy said reassuringly. "Her legs were pretty messed up so it might be a while, but she'll be fine."
Faith gently brushed a finger over Eve's forehead before turning back to Buffy. "What happened? Just got a hysterical call from Sondra telling me Eve had an accident?"
Buffy offered Faith a bottle of water before she told her everything she'd learned from both the girls. Then she went on and told her about the whole demon deal they've struck recently.
Apparently, Faith came up with the same question Buffy had earlier. "So, accident or intention?" Faith asked.
Buffy had pondered that question for the last couple of hours or so and had come to some sort of conclusion. "Both. Eve being hit was sort of accidentally but aiming at the boy wasn't. I mean, why else would she have had a vision of that particular kid being run over?"
Faith pondered Buffy answer when Eve started to stir. Buffy and Faith were at her side in a heartbeat. "She's dreaming. Vision or nightmare," Faith unnecessarily pointed out.
Buffy nodded and both women held Eve down, preventing her from aggravating her injuries any further. Sondra, woken by her friends moaning and thrashing around, helped as well. Finally the fighting stopped and Eve opened her eyes. "Faith?"
"The boy! They're after him again!" Eve tried to get up but three pairs of hands stopped her.
Faith sat down next to her, holding her chin firmly in her hand. "Calm down."
Eve relaxed almost immediately and Faith got her to relay her dream. It seemed like Buffy's assumption had been right. The accident had nothing to do with Eve, she just happened to be there to safe the boy. The kid, however, really was in trouble. For some reason or other, a couple of demons wanted him dead. And that was their problem.
In the end they had decided for Buffy to stay with Eve and try to catch some sleep as well while Faith and Sondra went looking for the boy. Sondra was itching to do something now that they knew some of what was going on. But there was no way either Faith or Buffy would let her go out on her own. As Buffy had to work the next day and, yes, was pregnant, Faith had quickly overruled her and said she was going with Sondra. Besides, they had a lot of catching up to do and how were they supposed to exchange embarrassing stories about Buffy with her present?
Buffy woke to whispering voices a few hours later. She opened her eyes and, after a couple of blinks, recognised her mom checking over Eve's injuries.
"Mom?" Buffy asked – and immediately looked up in shock, hoping Eve hadn't overheard her.
Of course, her life wasn't working that way. Seeing Buffy's expression, Eve smiled sheepishly. "Uh, I didn't hear anything?"
Buffy rubbed her face tiredly. "It's complicated and not exactly common knowledge. In the hospital, I mean. And outside, I guess." Buffy scowled at Lisa as she saw her slow smile. "You're not helping, you know!"
Lisa's smile grew even further. "You look cute when you're all flustered."
"Fine." Buffy crossed her arms in a pout. "Make with the fun having. I'm going to … crap
Eve and Lisa broke out laughing, leaving Buffy to stare at them in confusion. "Wha-?" Then she realised just what
she had said – and blushed. Again. Huffing, she put her hands on her hips. "I just realised how late
it is, okay!?"
"Sorry," Eve managed to say between more giggles.
"Hm." Frowning, she searched the room for any signs of Sondra and Faith. "Where are-?"
"In our apartment. Showering, changing. All that stuff," Eve said.
Buffy nodded. Looking at her mom, she frowned again.
Reading her daughter's thoughts, Lisa smiled. "I've taken over Eve's care. I figured it'd be easier than explaining her quick recovery."
"Oh. It makes sense, I guess. Thanks. I've just never seen you all white and doctor-y. You even got one of the listening thingies!"
Lisa shook her head at Buffy's excited voice. "Stethoscope."
"That's what I said, listening thingy," Buffy said nonchalantly. "So, how's Eve?"
The young woman said immediately, "I'm fine."
"She's doing good," Lisa said with a smile. "It's one thing to hear about fast healing but a completely different matter to see it at such a scale!"
Frowning, Eve looked at Buffy. Right, so this woman – which she happened to like – was somehow Buffy's mother. Apparently she also knew about slayers – and readily accepted it. Eve really trusted Buffy but this was still … feeling a bit odd.
Seeing the growing suspicion in Eve's face, Lisa said quietly, "I've been a Potential. I had some training before they decided I wasn't going to be called."
"From a certain Englishman," Buffy added.
Eve's eyes grew huge. "Mr Giles?"
"Wow what?" Sondra asked as she entered the room.
"Buffy's mom is a former Potential! And Mr Giles was her watcher!" Eve said excitedly. Then she remembered the supposed secret. "Oops?"
"Yeah, yeah. Right. I've got to run. Behave and keep your mouth shut, okay? Especially beware the grumpy cane guy. Oh, and Faith knows, so talking to her is okay," Buffy said before leaving the room for a quick shower and breakfast.
--A/N: Muse simply didn't want to come to the point. Bah. I even had to sneak some plot points in when she wasn't looking. But she's already written down the outline for next chapter, so all is well! Anyway, thanks for reviewing again!
Oh! And I can actually see an end to this!