A/N: well damn! When I posted this I wasn't sure what kinda reception I'd get but apparently people like it so far! Thanks for the reviews and keep 'em coming! House and Buffy and everything related belong to their creators, I claim nothing but the words and the idea.Chapter 3
Buffy walked into the cafeteria and glanced around but she didn’t see Chase yet so she went to the line to order. She grabbed a tray and loaded it with a turkey on rye sandwich, an orange and an apple, a helping of broccoli and a sliver of chocolate cake and a soda. She paid the cashier and found an empty table to start in on her lunch while she waited, her stomach rumbled as she consumed her sandwich.
The door opened and people started to enter the cafeteria but she continued eating, figuring that Chase would see her and come over if he was among them. Instead she heard the telltale sound of none other than Dr. Gregory House coming toward her but she ignored him until he sat in the bench opposite her. He stretched his bad leg out and rubbed a hand over it absently as he scowled at her. She continued to eat despite him, wondering how long he’d sit there before saying something.
“Buffy Summers wasn’t it?” He stated finally and she glanced up at him through her long lashes. He’d grilled Chase for several minutes but all he’d managed to wrangle out of his duckling was the girl’s name. When he’d tried to look online for some kind of information he found he was blocked which only added to his curiosity.
“The one and only.” She piped up and flashed him a grin before spearing a piece of her cake and shoving it into her mouth. “So, you gonna buy me dinner?” She asked idly, popping the tab of her Coke and taking a sip to wash the chocolatey yumminess down her throat.
“Why would I do that?” He asked, stumped.
“Well, if you’re so damned intent on delving into my personal life, it’s only polite to buy me dinner.” Her voice dripped sarcasm but he was oblivious to it, instead he seemed to be weighing that option.
“Maybe you’re right, girl’s gotta eat.” He eyed her and then her half full tray of food. “Although the way you pack it away I might have to dip into my 401K.”
Buffy scowled at him in protest, then glanced at her own plate. Her lunch today was a lot less than she normally ate but he’d just implied she was fat or something. “I have a high metabolism, and besides that was a joke. Like I’d really got out with you
House gasped and placed a hand over his heart in mock indignation. “That just breaks my heart.” He whined and Buffy snorted in laughter.
“You have no heart. You have an organ that pumps blood, and clearly you’re missing that little nerve that connects your mouth to your head.”
She patted her lips daintily with her napkin and peeled her orange into sections and he promptly snatched one before she could defend it. He popped it into his mouth but when he tried to grab another she picked up her fork and held it poised above his hand in warning.
He withdrew his hand slowly and stared at her with renewed fascination. Not a lot of people could dish out what he threw at them and this girl could not only take his verbal abuse but she tossed her own jabs at him in return and she wasn’t the least bit intimidated by him.
Buffy thought about the offer as she studied him beneath the guise of peeling her orange. She wouldn’t have minded playing some more verbal hockey with the arrogant doctor and it would provide her with a free meal if she accepted.
I agree,” she began as her green eyes met his blue. “Are you going to be grilling me about Chase etc.?” She asked clearly and he started to grin in triumph.
“She’s quick.” He answered and Buffy nodded to herself. “Going once, going twice,” he watched her and she finally inclined her head in acceptance. House spotted Wilson entering the cafeteria and got to his feet to go bum lunch from his friend. She refocused on her orange and then her eyes lit up marginally as Chase approached the table, tray in hand.
House nodded at his minion and Chase nodded back before taking his vacated seat across from Buffy who placed half of her orange upon Chase’s tray and gave House a cheeky grin. House chuckled at her and started to walk over to Wilson, leaning on his cane.
He turned back to her though as a thought struck him and he raised his voice so she could hear him when she caught the movement and glanced at him in question. “I hope you like wings.” He stated and she grinned back at him while Chase looked between the two with a confused expression.
Buffy watched House limp away and laughed at the look she was getting from Chase whose jaw was hanging open slightly in awe. He walked over to another young guy and they argued for a few minutes as House grabbed a tray and began adding food to it. She observed the guy’s sidelong glance at her as he sighed at his friend and she smiled at him.
The doctor returned the smile automatically and was abruptly swatted on the back of the head by House, who lectured him about flirting with younger women. The guy blushed at his friend’s gall but paid for their lunches. House conspicuously chose a booth right behind Buffy and Chase’s so he could overhear everything that was said and Buffy laughed again at his antics. Clearly if she decided to stay here she’d never be bored around him.
“Did you just..” Chase gestured to her and to House, unwilling to finish the unfathomable sentence.
“He asked me to dinner, was a real gentleman, got down on his good knee and everything. It’d be rude of me to turn him down.” She answered with a mischievous twinkle in her eye as his jaw dropped lower. She heard the sound of House chuckling from his seat behind her and she tossed an uneaten orange section over her shoulder at him which he ate.
“So what are you doing in Jersey?” Chase asked once his brain started operating again, abandoning the peculiar subject of his friend and his boss. Buffy heard House’s bench creak as he leaned back to hear her reply.
“Well you know how I said I teach teenage girls self-defense?” she answered as she started on her apple. He nodded and she continued, “I got word that there’s a girl in a town near here and I agreed to train her. I remembered where you said you worked so here I am.” She smiled perkily at him and munched on her apple.
“Oh ok, so how long are you in town for?” He asked as he ate his own lunch and they both ignored his nosy boss who was thoroughly ignoring Wilson’s attempts to distract him from eavesdropping.
“Not sure yet, I was thinking about getting an apartment. She’s going to college in Princeton and it’d make sense if I got a place where she could go when she’s off campus with enough room to train. It’s still up in the air right now though.” She continued to eat what was left of her lunch and then eyed her tray thoughtfully. “So, can we get seconds or what?” She asked as her stomach growled distinctly.
Chase laughed and she heard House cough to cover his own laugh at her expense but she ignored him. Wilson had given up on engaging House in conversation and was reading over a bunch of papers in a manila folder while he ate.
Once he assured her that she could get more she grinned and got up to do so. She carried her tray to the line and re-loaded it with another sandwich, a banana this time, some grapes, and a yogurt. She gave the cashier a sunny smile and returned to her table with Chase who was finishing up his own food. He gave her tray a bemused look and his lips twitched with the effort not to smile at the amount of food.
She caught the look and shrugged in reply, “Like I told Limpy McLimperton over there,” she tossed a grape over her shoulder at House as she spoke. “I have a high metabolism.” Chase and House both chuckled at her and she jumped slightly when her phone started to ring.
She silenced the ringtone and saw that it was Willow calling her so she opened it to accept the call, then covered the receiver to tell Chase, “I gotta take this, I’ll be right back.” She stood and went out into the hallway to talk to Willow in private.
“Hey Wills, what’s the what?” She asked as she covered her other ear with one hand so she could hear her friend.
“Hey Buffy!” Willow chirped and Buffy felt herself smile at her best friend’s voice. “Okay, so here’s the thing. I set up that website for the Council and everything but I made sure to put some wards up in case someone tried to dig deeper into you or Faith or what the Council does.” Willow explained and Buffy nodded as she racked her brain, the words sounded familiar, like Willow had told her of the site and wards before. She remembered that Willow couldn’t see her nod and muttered an affirmative.
“Well, apparently someone’s been trying to make with the digging. Into you in particular. So this is just a heads up, okay?” Willow continued and Buffy turned to look into the cafeteria, zeroing in on House who was in conversation with his friend. She had no doubts exactly who it was that had tried to find out about her, but then again she supposed she shouldn’t have been surprised. Chase had often called to rant about his boss’ annoying habit of snooping when he found some new puzzle that eluded him.
“Thanks Wills, I think I have an idea who it was. Did he find anything?” She asked as he felt the weight of her gaze and looked over at her. His eyebrow raised and he smirked but she ignored him to hear Willow’s answer.
“Nope, I am the queen of hacker-ville. He found out nothing that would raise any red flags.” Willow replied and Buffy felt a rush of affection for her redheaded witchy friend. “How’s Lauren by the way?” She asked and Buffy broke House’s gaze to look at her watch. Lauren should be taking her own lunch soon and was supposed to have the afternoon off from class so they could train which meant she’d be calling herself any time now.
“She’s good, in fact she’s supposed to call me any minute. We’ll talk soon okay?” Buffy said and Willow agreed to call her that weekend. “Hey Wills?” Buffy said quickly before she hung up, “thanks for the heads up.”
Buffy could almost hear the grin on Willow’s face and she smiled back as they disconnected. Buffy looked back into the cafeteria at House and Chase, who looked down at his waist where his beeper was. She figured it must have gone off because he stood and said a few words to his boss. House didn’t look at his own beeper or follow Chase to the door, and Buffy saw Chase roll his eyes as he headed for the exit and toward her.
He gave her an apologetic smile and a light hug when he reached her, then said something about a patient and that he’d call her later before rushing off for the elevator. Buffy watched Chase go while she chewed on her cheek, then jumped again when her phone rang a second time. After seeing that it was a text from Lauren, she read it and replied as she walked back inside the cafeteria to dispose of her forgotten lunch.
Buffy set her grapes on House’s tray as she passed and kept the banana, yogurt and sandwich to eat on her way to meet Lauren. He gave no sign that he noticed other than to start eating them as he continued talking to his doctor friend.
He did, however, slip her a piece of paper as she left and she opened it to find his phone number and a time scrawled on it. She guessed that was the time he’d meet her for the date and stuffed the paper into her pocket as she walked out of the cafeteria again and toward the main exit.
She didn’t notice both doctors watching her leave until she’d turned the corner and disappeared out of sight.