The man with the basketball
TTH Award Nominee:
Kiwikatipo's "Here comes the bride"'
Demona's "That didn't suck!"
Best Crossover Author 2010
SunnyD Award Nominee:
Best Crossover TV
Best Crossover TV Pairing
Thanks to all who voted for me.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story. One Tree Hill was created by Mark Schwahn and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were created by Joss Whedon.
Spoilers: set after Chosen, Not Fade Away and One Tree Hill season six (may be somewhat altered as it hasn't all aired yet)2014 note. This is one of my earlier stories, so there are more errors, especially punctuation, than in my newer stories. I correct them as I find them, but I know I haven't found them all. Thanks for reading anyway.
She was in love with the man with the basketball. Maybe it was the long legs that moved with such grace and power. Maybe it was the hint of a smile he wore. Almost innocent… with just a hint of mischief. Maybe it was the entire package – he was tall, dark haired and he moved… like a panther. He was just… beautiful. Maybe it was the big hands, splayed across the basketball. Those hands... She sat on the picnic table and watched him shoot. He seldom missed. His dark hair fell across his eyes. Periodically he ran his fingers through it, but it sprang back almost instantly. She wanted to run her fingers through it too. It was almost completely straight, and nearly black. It looked so thick. Just a little bit unruly. She wondered what it would feel like to touch. Every afternoon about this time, he was here. She liked to run in the afternoons down near the river, and he apparently liked to come there and shoot hoops. Usually, he was alone. Sometimes he had friends. The first time she saw him, she was stretching. She had one leg up on the picnic table, when the sound of the ball got her attention. The next day she decided that she had to go back. Maybe he would be there. She’d gone every day since. He hadn’t missed a day.
One of these days, she’d talk to him, but she hadn’t gotten the nerve up yet. Maybe when she finally spoke to him, she would discover that he was married, or mean, or the illusion would shatter for some other reason. Right now, he was perfect. He was the man with the basketball.
Of course, she knew it couldn’t work. He was much too old for her. It was deceptive, but today there’d been another dark haired man here shooting hoops when she arrived. Something about him was familiar, but she didn’t really make the connection until ‘he’ arrived.
“Hey dad, what’s up?” said the other man.
She thought she must be mistaken, but he said it again. Predictably, they were talking about basketball. Apparently, the young man had just gotten a call to the NBA. As they talked, they played. It was obvious they both had quite a lot of talent. Even without any expertise in basketball, she could see the ease with which both men played.
“So, what did Haley say?”
“She’s very happy!”
“Of course she is! You’ve done well, son.”
“Guess I got the Scott talent.”
“Guess you did. I think you got your persistence from you mother though,” the older man said.
“You’re probably right. It’s not like you’re not a survivor, though.”
“I got lucky!” he said.
“You kept fighting long enough to get lucky, Dan.”
Dan. That was his name. Maybe he hadn’t said dad? No… it was clear… Dan was ‘dad’, and he’d called the other man ‘son’. His son was almost her age… How much older exactly did that make ‘Dan’? She had thought maybe it was ten years… Given her history, that wasn’t too bad! Now she wondered. Just how old was his son? She felt oddly disappointed.
“You’re saying I’m too mean to die?”
“Something like that!” but he grinned and the older man grinned back. Apparently, it was some kind of private joke. He didn’t seem particularly mean, and the two men seemed to share genuine affection for each other.
“Speaking of your mother… Is she still dating Skills?”
“Yup, weird but true!” the younger man made a face. “My mom’s dating one of my very best friends!”
“Hey! She’s an adult! She deserves to be happy!”
“Dan! What are you on? You are much too mellow.”
“I’ve got a new heart!”
“I can tell!” the younger man said, punching his father lightly on the shoulder.
Buffy stared at the two men. It couldn’t be. She’d come to Tree Hill because this was where the heart had been sent. She didn’t know who had received it, but eight months ago she’d lost one of her closest friends -- someone who was almost like a sister since Sunnydale. They had promised each other that if either ever died in battle, or some other way, that they should donate the other’s organs. For months, Buffy had told herself that she wouldn’t try to find the person. She was glad to hear that someone had received her heart. That would have to be enough. Eventually, however, the major apocalyptic issues at the time had been dealt with, and the lull that followed gave her a bit too much time to think. She had lost so many over the years. Mom, Spike, Angel – not to mention friends like Anya, Tara, Cordy and the slayers who died in Sunnydale, and those who had died since.
She needed a break, and that was what she told Willow, Xander and Dawn. There was no man to worry about -- there hadn’t been since Sunnydale fell. Oh, she’d dated, but nothing had meant anything since Spike who she had claimed not to love until the very end. It hadn’t helped matters that she’d found out he’d come back from the dead and not let her know – though that might not have been entirely his fault. This time he was apparently dead for good. Andrew had finally told her Spike had somehow returned – after the fight in LA – after he was dead. That was when she stopped talking to Andrew permanently.
Giles she blamed for not telling them when Angel had called for help – and for not sending slayers to help them in LA before they and the Hyperion had gone down in flames. Even if no one else had gone, she would have, and she knew Faith would have gone too. Faith never forgot what Angel had done for her. They’d shut down one of the biggest evils in LA without any help and it had killed them. Riley’s guys had arrived near the end of the battle and there had been no one left standing. They’d had a hell of a time keeping the press and LA authorities out of the mess, but they’d cleared out the alley, and the surrounding wreckage, and managed to keep the whole thing more or less secret.
Riley said they’d found remains that could only be those of Fred and Gunn, and years later, she’d run into Lorne and he’d told her the whole story. Then she’d asked Giles why he never told her, and he’d wept and apologized. He’d kept something from her and he’d been wrong yet again. Their relationship had not recovered from that final lie. She and Faith had campaigned among the new slayers and voted him off the council board though he remained a senior watcher. No watcher alone would ever again decide for slayers whether they would fight or not. She wondered if that was why Spike hadn’t contacted her – maybe he hadn’t really believed she cared -- that part she just couldn’t figure out. She just felt so hurt that maybe he hadn’t cared enough to come to her. Lorne had told her that Spike loved her to the very end, and had actually tried to contact her when she lived in Italy. Apparently, somehow he’d given up after that, or maybe he just never got the chance. She would never know.
She’d finished college and gone on to get an MFA of all things. She’d never thought of herself as a writer, but years of keeping a slayer journal had helped her learn to express herself well. It was either that or psychology. Perhaps because of the number of young women she’d counseled since Sunnydale, she felt she had as much experience with counseling as she needed. The council had enough money. She’d made them hire some ‘real’ counselors, and happily bowed out. She would always be a slayer, and that was enough.
She looked out at the court, and the two men who continued to play and talk, but Buffy’s mind was a million miles away. She was thinking of that night – and losing Faith. No one else would have survived as long as she did. For once, however, even being a slayer was not enough. The doctors had come out to her and said there was nothing more they could do. Faith was brain dead. They had dithered for a few minutes before she realized what they were trying to ask.
“Of course I’ll donate all usable organs. It’s what she would have wanted. I’m her next of kin.”
A/N I started watching OTH as research for my series and I got hooked. This is one of the results...