A/N: the plot bunny for this wouldn't cease in it's attacks so I wrote this. Characters belong to their creators. "House" and other related entities are owned, (TM) and © by HEEL AND TOE FILMS and BAD HAT HARRY PRODUCTIONS in association with NBC UNIVERSAL TELEVISION. All Rights Reserved. "Buffy" was created by Joss Whedon and belongs to him, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Television, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television and the WB Television Network. A Fresh Start
Buffy gazed at the headstone in front of her somberly, her eyes tracing over each letter of the epitaph. Being a Slayer, Buffy Summers had buried too many people she’d known and cared for, but this one she hadn’t been particularly close to. They’d had a rocky friendship in High School due to their polar opposite personalities but she’d been there for Buffy when it counted. She wished she’d known her better, but she’d heard of the girl’s accomplishments for the greater good and she was proud of the girl she once knew. They hadn’t had much in common, but they had both joined the fight against their will and had risen above it to do great things. They’d both loved the same man, even if he was over 200 years or so.
Buffy was so deep in her musings she didn’t hear someone approach from behind but her Slayer senses told her he was human, and therefore not a threat. She cast a side-long glance at the person and saw a young guy with shaggy brownish blonde hair that flopped into his eyes and that he was dressed casually. His jeans were wrinkled and worn and he wore a pale blue polo and he seemed to be studying the same grave she was. He caught her looking so she jerked her eyes back to the headstone and tried not to blush. She felt like a school girl peeking at a boy she liked and it felt weird because there wasn’t any kind of attraction between them.
“She’s my cousin,” the guy said softly to her and she turned to look at him again in sympathy. Like every red-blooded American, she loved accents and his was Australian by the sounds of it. “I just heard about her accident the other day.” His voice broke and Buffy felt a pang of guilt and sympathy for the guy. Angel had told her the real story behind the seer’s death and that they were going to use a cover of her being in an accident then a coma which she’d just died of. She could hardly tell this guy that though, so she settled for saying nothing.
“Did you know her?” He asked, meeting her gaze and offering a shaky smile.
“Yeah,” Buffy smiled back at the memories in her head about his cousin. “We went to high school together.”
“The one that blew up? She told me about that. She said there was always some weird stuff going on in Sunnydale.” He answered with a fond faraway smile.
“One and the same, we had some crazy things happen, that’s for sure.” Buffy looked back at the headstone and knelt to place the roses in her hand on the ground. He watched her in silence until she stood again, her fingertips touching the top of the stone. “My name’s Buffy, Buffy Summers.” She told him and turned to hold her hand out in an offer of friendship that he accepted.
“Dr. Robert Chase. Most people just call me Chase though. She
called me Robbie when we were younger.” He answered, inclining his head at the ‘she’. “Were you and her friends?”
Buffy hesitated. “Kind of, we weren’t that much alike but she was a good friend when it counted. And she worked with a close friend of mine in L.A. before the accident.”
“That Angel guy?” Chase inquired. “She told me a little about him, in between gushing about her acting jobs.” He bent to place his own small bouquet next to hers. “I don’t mean to be rude, but would you mind..” He trailed off and she widened her eyes when she caught on to what he was asking. “You don’t have to leave though, I just..”
“Oh! No, no problem, I’m just going to go over there and be away.” Buffy gestured off to the side and wandered away to give him some space with the grave of his cousin. She was far enough to give him some privacy but close enough to hear at the same time. She wondered if she should leave but decided not to, maybe he needed a friend.
Dr. Robert Chase pulled up to the cemetery just before dark and saw that the graveyard was mostly deserted. He wasn’t sure where the grave of his cousin was so he walked between the gravestones at a respectful distance. He always felt it was disrespectful to walk over someone’s grave so he tried to walk beside them instead. He found the one he was looking for but to his dismay a woman was standing before it. Her blonde hair fell in gentle waves down her back and she stood with her feet shoulder-width apart, her hands clasped behind her back, and her head bowed as she examined the stone before her. He noticed her tense for a split second before she relaxed again, and caught her side-ways glance at him when he came to stand beside her. He saw her eyes roam over him and let his own do the same. She was dressed semi-formally in a pair of tan slacks and a beige shirt with a red jacket pulled over it. She carried a shoulder bag that was slung across her chest diagonally and was wearing very little makeup. His eyes met hers and he watched with amusement when she jerked her head back to the front, a faint blush rising in her cheeks.
He decided to break the ice first, figuring that this girl probably knew his cousin, and he saw the sympathy in her eyes when she met his again. When he told her about hearing of the accident he could have sworn he saw a flash of guilt in them but he dismissed the thought. He wasn’t his boss and he honestly didn’t care what mysteries laid in wait about her. He wasn’t attracted to her, and had the impression that she wasn’t either.
He tried to smile and asked her the question that had been on his mind since he’d seen her and she smiled back in return. When she replied about her high school he flashed back on the rants and late-night calls he’d received while in med school from his cousin about some weird thing or other. The calls had become less frequent over the years but she’d still made time to catch up with him when she’d gone off to make her mark on the world of acting. She’d fed him tidbits of her acting jobs and about her boss, Angel, and her friends. She’d even mentioned a boy named Connor before the accident but when he’d tried to look up this Angel fellow, he hadn’t found anything.
When she offered her hand, he accepted it, and he felt a small bit of warmth from the physical contact. It wasn’t a flash of desire, merely the acknowledgement of a friendly gesture. Her hand was smaller than his, her palms callused but her skin was smooth and she wore little jewelry aside from a cross around her neck and a fashionable watch on one slender wrist. He told her his name and they stayed in silence for a long moment before asking her some more questions. He remembered the flowers in his other hand and bent to place them beside her own, suddenly wanting to be alone with his cousin’s memory. He couldn’t think of a way to phrase his request without sounding unbelievably rude but she got it and moved a few feet away.
He touched one hand to the grass and sat, not really caring about grass stains for the moment. He felt his mind whirling with thoughts and memories and conversations as he struggled to find a place to start. He lifted his gaze to the name engraved upon the stone and he felt his heart break again as her laughing face flashed before his eyes.
“Hey Cordy. I’m a doctor now, living in New Jersey. I work at this big hospital called Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. It’s not so bad, I’m part of a team that diagnoses and treats illnesses and things like that. My boss is an arse.”
He laughed a little as he thought of his ornery boss. He ripped a blade of grass from the earth and started to tear it to tiny pieces, unsure what else to say. “He’s a good doctor, brilliant but he’s a total jerk. I’m learning a lot from him though when he’s not driving me insane with annoyance. Plainsboro is a small town, but it’s nice. You’d probably hate it,” he said with a fond smile. “The mall is only one floor and half the stores sell things you’d never touch in a million years.”
He got to his feet again and looked down at the head stone and he saw Buffy approach from the corner of his eye. She was giving him a sympathetic look but he didn’t want her sympathy so he nodded and turned back to his car. He heard her light foot steps behind him and a hand clasped his shoulder, offering comfort. He turned and she saw all the pain and weariness in his sad eyes and her heart tore for the young doctor.
“I was hoping you could tell me about her?” She asked hesitantly and he got really still under her palm. “I only knew her a little in school and I think I’d like to know who she was before she came to SunnyD.”
The gratitude in his eyes was so overwhelming that he couldn’t speak for a moment but managed a shaky nod of assent. He opened the passenger’s side door for her and she climbed in, then waited as he circled the small gray Chevy and occupied the empty driver’s side of the car. They talked and compared stories as he drove around, neither wanted to go their separate ways just yet. Before he dropped her off at the apartment she was staying at, they exchanged phone numbers and a promise to stay in touch. As Buffy watched his Chevy drive out of sight she felt herself smile, and her steps were lighter as she walked into her apartment. She’d enjoyed talking with Chase, and she hoped to run into him again sometime. She cast a glance skyward and smiled, hoping her friend could hear her. “Thanks Cordy.”