In Which There Is An Interrogation..er, Interview
Title: In Which There Is An Interrogation..er, Interview
Summary: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Or “family emergencies”, snarky doctors, and inappropriate betting in a hospital.
Word Count: 1,757 Words
Disclaimer: Nothing changed from the last chapter. Still don’t own House or Buffy. Woe is me.
A/N: Still don’t have anything for you rabid The Scoobies Do Princeton, NJ readers. Sorry muchos.
Now on with the story!
Buffy walked into the glass-walled office not really sure what to expect. This was her first work interview post-collapse of Sunnydale. Stake a vamp? No big. Slay a demon? Piece of cake. Avert an apocalypse? Point the way. But stick her in an interview with a potential employer and she’d freeze up like a deer in headlights, shaking in her rather stylish Jimmy Choos.
The office itself was like a really strange cross between rich corporate and a small child’s bedroom. The furniture was sleek and new, but there were toys lying all over the desk, which was a cluttered mess. The room’s sole occupant, a sharp-eyed man with graying hair, was bouncing a ball off the wall and catching it with his cane. He studied Buffy in silence for several seconds.
“Proceed to the whiteboard room,” he finally said, jerking his head towards a room where she could see three people sitting around a small-ish conference table. There was a bored-looking black man, a smiling brunette, and a blonde surfer type man sitting around the table. And indeed there was a whiteboard, although she could think of no possible reasons for there to be. The only time she’d ever had to use one, outside of school, was when The Gentlemen had taken their voices.
Buffy shrugged and made her way to the door. Before she could get it open, the guy said, “Tell my minions to begin. I will join them shortly.”
Geez, this guy is weird, Buffy thought. She nodded though and then opened the door and went into the other room.
“Um, hi. I’m Buffy. Buffy Summers,” she said. “Uh, the man with the ball said to tell you to go ahead without him and that he’d, uh, join us soon.”
“Surprise, surprise,” the black man said and rolled his eyes.
The woman shot him a look and then turned to the other male accusingly. He shrugged and she turned her attention to Buffy. “I’m Dr. Cameron and these are Dr.’s Foreman and Chase,” she told Buffy. “We work for Dr. House. The guy with the ball.” She smiled.
Buffy nodded and then shook her head. “Wait. I thought I was interviewing for, um,” she rifled through her purse and then pulled out a piece of paper. “For Dr. Wilson.” She looked up at Dr. Cameron inquiringly.
Dr. Cameron smiled reassuringly. “You are. Please sit,” she said and indicated the chair across from them.
“Oooo-kay,” Buffy said, still a little confused, and sat in the chair.
“So it says here you graduated high school and started college. Is there a reason you never finished?” Dr. Foreman asked her.
Buffy swallowed. Of course they had to start with the tough ones. “Um, my mother got cancer and when she died, Dawn, my little sister, needed someone. I meant to go back, but then, well, I went…away for a while and then we had to, uh…relocate and there were things to take care of and…yeah. Lame, huh? School was just never really my thing.”
“Is that why you burned down your first high school?”
Buffy shot out of her seat and turned to face the intruder in a fighting stance, only to find it was the odd man, Dr. House standing there with a smug grin on his face.
She relaxed her position a little. “That was never actually proven,” Buffy said defensively. “The fire marshal said it could have been mice.”
“Mice?” House asked incredulously.
“Mice that were smoking?” Buffy tried.
House nodded. “Riiiiight.”
Before Buffy could say anything else to defend herself, a loud beeping noise filled the room. Buffy’s eyes got wide. “Uhm, I know this is an interview and all, but I have to answer that.” She frantically scrambled through her purse and came up with a cell phone, the apparent source of the noise.
“Someone had better
be dying,” she snarled into it. “Oh brother. Call him up.” There was a small pause. “Hello? Bring Lamb Post - right, Lambert, to the phone.” “I don’t care what time it is! Unlock his cell, unstrap him, and bring him to the phone!” “Because Willow needs to speak to him and because I said so!” “That’s what I thought!” “You good now, Wills? Anyone else you need me to threaten?” “Okay. Give everyone my love. Later.”
Buffy hung up the phone to find all four doctors staring at her strangely. “Uh, family emergency.”
Everyone looked like they wanted to say something, but House beat them to it.
“Your family emergency doesn’t resemble any family emergency I’ve ever heard of before? Unlock his cell and unstrap him? What kind of kinkiness are you into?”
Buffy bit her lip. “Uh, well the Lamb-guy, whatever, he’s in a really, really secure psych-type facility, a-and, well, Wills needed to talk to him about…a, uh, bad guy. Yeah.” Buffy’s cover-stories were really rusty. It was obvious, to her at least, that she hadn’t had to use them in a long while.
House’s eyes narrowed. “Bad guys? So she’s a…cop? A lawyer? And how come your word means so much?”
“Well, in my old job, which is sort of a private investigator thing, I was sort of an enforcer, ya know? Like making with the threats and sometimes, uh, carrying them out. I sorta got a reputation and, well, anything for family,” she stuttered out. Man, I am really rusty, she thought.
The three doctors seated at the table were still giving her strange looks, but House was smirking now.
“So you’d say that you aren’t easily intimidated then?” he asked her.
“Uh, yeah, sure,” Buffy answered warily.
“You don’t look like you’re into drugs. What’s your type?”
“Drugs!? What? My type? I don’t understand. I thought this was a job interview,” Buffy said.
House rolled his eyes. “This is. But it’s also part of a bet. So what’s your type?”
“I – well, not that it’s any of your business, but I don’t really have a type. And I’m not looking for a relationship. I mean, I’m really bad at them. A-and I’m sorta not sure what this has to do with being a secretary…” she trailed off.
“House, leave her alone,” Dr. Cameron said. “Don’t mind him. He doesn’t have any people skills.”
Buffy eyed the brunette curiously. “And yet you still seem to respect him and obviously you have a crush on him,” she said before she could think about it.
Dr. Cameron’s eyes widened and Dr. House started laughing. Dr. Foreman was grinning and Dr. Chase seemed to be trying to ignore the whole thing.
“Oops,” Buffy said. “Sometimes I’m insight girl without my own permission.”
When House finally stopped laughing he said, “You look like a valley girl, you speak like a valley girl, but something tells me you are not a typical valley girl.”
“Who are you calling a valley girl, gimpy?”
“He means you seem like you’re a dumb blonde, but it’s a façade. He kind of just gave you a backhanded compliment. It’s his specialty,” Dr. Foreman explained with a smirk.
“I guess you would know that since you want to be him,” Buffy said with a small smirk of her own. She really didn’t know what had come over her. She barely knew these people.
House was laughing again, as was Dr. Chase. Dr. Foreman and Dr. Cameron were both frowning.
“You are so
hired,” House said, once he’d quit laughing again.
Buffy’s eyes narrowed. “I actually have a question. Why are you being interview-guy when Dr. Wilson is who I’m actually interviewing for?”
“We had a bet.”
Buffy’s eyes narrowed even further and her face hardened. “So you’re hiring me because you think I’m funny and to win a bet?”
House pretended to think about it for a second. “Uh, yeah. That sounds about right.”
“Well in that case, you lose. This interview is over.” Buffy hitched her purse onto her shoulder and started to stomp out of the room.
House hated to lose a bet. “Wait. Just wait.”
Buffy stopped but didn’t turn around. “What?”
“Go find something to do, my ducklings. I think me and Ms. Summers have something to discuss. It’s grown-up stuff. Real boring. You wouldn’t enjoy it at all,” he said airily, and three doctors got up from the table and left.
Buffy turned back around. “So now you’re gonna be Mr. Manners? Now that you’re stupid little bet’s on the line?” She was still scowling, but she didn’t actually seem that angry.
“Well, I wouldn’t really say Mr. Manners, but I’ll try for Mr. Nice Guy,” he said.
“Well don’t strain anything,” Buffy quipped back. Her scowl was gone now.
House smirked and sat where his ‘ducklings’ had been before. “Have a seat.”
Buffy sat and they studied each other for a few more minutes.
“So why do you want to work here? You obviously don’t need the money,” House said, half-mockingly, half-serious.
Buffy ignored the mockingly half. “Partly because I wanted to get over my fear of hospitals and partly because if I don’t do anything I would go absolutely stir-crazy,” Buffy answered truthfully.
“What about your old job? You don’t seem to have a problem performing it.”
“It’s more than covered,” Buffy said. Her eyes got that far-away look and she was smiling again. “For once,” she practically muttered to herself. Her eyes suddenly snapped back up to his. “Not that I really hated my job, and sometimes I’ll probably still help out a little here and there, but I needed a change. Eight years is a long time and circumstances have allowed that I am no longer essential to The Council,” she explained.
House's face screwed up for a second. “You were 15 when you started working Private Investigations?” House said with a frown.
Buffy laughed. “I almost forgot I was that young when I started,” she said. “I was needed. People needed help and I could do that. I was never really good at school and I didn’t play any sports, but I had this. I am proficient in several types of hand-to-hand combat and can find my way around more weapons that I can remember the name for. It was all very cloak and dagger and we were sort of vigilantes when it all started.”
He looked at her skeptically. “You
were a vigilante? Huh. Can I hire you now?”
“Am I still only being hired because I’m funny and you need to win a bet?”
“Yep,” House said with a smirk.
“Right then. I’ll take it,” she said with an answering smirk. A/N 2: "Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Sir Winston Leonard Spenser Churchill