Disclaimer: I do not own House MD or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I also don't own the line used in the title "Sweet Comic Valentine," which is a lyric from the old song "My Funny Valentine."
Author's notes: Set directly after "Be My Valentine," but hopefully it can also be read alone using subtext to fill in the blanks. I really didn't mean to write this. It just kind of happened.
Word Count: ~1900
"You're planning something."
The accusation came from the door to his office, but House didn't have to look up to know that the narrowed eyes burning through him belonged Dr. James Wilson, fan of the Big C. House decided it was time to give up on balancing his cane on his forehead, and snatched it before it could clatter to the ground. Then, with an innocent bat of his eyes, he turned to look at friend.
do you mean?"
Wilson crossed his arms over the chest of what appeared to be a rather nice suit. "I have no clue why you wanted your team distracted the entire day, attempting to solve the riddle of 'Buffy, the concussed,' but your little ruse didn't work on me."
"Ruse?" House scoffed. "Really? That implies premeditation. I simply threw a package away. They're the ones who chose to dig through my garbage."
Wilson bit down a smile. "You sat it on top of the trash can, the message facing up, and preceded to eat a giant pair of chocolate lips while going over symptoms."
House raised a brow. And?
"Did Cameron report me to the sharing police?"
Wilson threw up his hands. "You know what, House. I don't care what this is about. Because if this was some half-assed attempt to ruin Valentine's, it failed." The doctor was somewhat proud of this victory, and continued, "Your patient is better, your team has already left for the day, and I have a date--all is right in the world, and no one cares if you paid one of the nurses to fill out a fake name on a Valentine."
"A nurse? My standards aren't that low." House was wagging a finger at Wilson. "Oh, I know what this is about…"
"What what is about?"
House tapped his cane on the floor, standing. "You're mad I didn't tell you about my girlfriend. It's ok, Wilson. Dr. Phil says jealousy is healthy, and we all know he's an expert
Wilson frowned. "I'm not…I don't… Damn it, House, we both know you don't have a girlfriend. At least not one who doesn't get paid to spend time with you."
"You wound me, sir." House slapped his hand against his chest, dramatically, but his brow quirked up when his fingers proceeded to pull a plastic card from his overshirt's breast pocket. His smile was wicked when he tapped the front of the card. Wilson leaned forward, trying to get a look at it--from the distance it appeared to be a hotel keycard. House slipped it into his wallet. "Actually, I have a date tonight, too."
House slid into his jacket, and leaned onto his cane. "Now, in fact. So, leave."
"With someone named Buffy?" Wilson blocked the door, hands at his waist, his own sneaky grin coming out to play. House read the expression in an instant and knew this wasn't going as he'd planned. "Alright, why don't I give you a ride then. I'd love to meet a 'Buffy.'"
House stopped the frown from creasing his face. "Didn't you say you had your own date to go on?"
"It's later. I've got plenty of time," Wilson assured, not giving in. If the sparkle in his eye was anything to go by, he knew he'd won the game. "Just confess, House. It was a fake Valentine."
House tapped him on the shoulder with the curve of his cane and walked past. Never admit defeat. "Know the way to The Whedon Hotel and Suites, chauffeur? I've got a lady to see."
"I have a date tonight."
The more she said it, the easier the little white lie was to believe. She was filing it under "white" because it was at least half true. Buffy fully intended on prettying-up, heading out, and dining by candlelight… So what if the girls assumed the word "date" implied there would be someone else joining her. Also, officially, she did have a Valentine. Sure, her Valentine was a nutty guy she'd met at a 24-hour drug store on a 2am candy run, but Valentines were Valentines, even if you weren't planning on seeing them ever again.
It helped that the younger slayers staying with her at the hotel were currently on her Hit List. After bad mouthing her to a post-break-up Kennedy and implying their leader's holiday numbness was part of her "bitchy boss" nature, Buffy had lost her will to confide in them. Or make their lives easier. Pretending her Valentine's Day was booked wasn't difficult, especially when she knew they were stuck doing city patrol to insure their little Harpies-of-New-Jersey issue was good and over.
Some days it paid to be the queen slayer.
Buffy had spent most of the day sleeping off her injuries, swallowing pain meds, and meditating on summoning her inner Super Slayer. It had paid off. With a little make-up, most of the bruising became unnoticeable. Sure, her head was still throbbing when she moved too quickly and her ribs had been in better shape before, but after the fight she'd had last night, she was lucky to be walking straight.
She slipped into a slinky red dress with short butterfly sleeves to cover the cut at her shoulder, and stood back from the mirror to admire her work. Add a stunning smile, and she figured she might not come back from her "date" alone, after all.
A little pep in her step, she waved goodbye to the jr. slayers mapping out their patrol, ignoring the deep, frustrated frowns on their pimply faces.
Buffy was enjoying her temporary boost in confidence, even if, in the back of her mind, she knew that normal nights out usually turned bad for slayers. For her. She'd almost lost that happy vibe when the elevator landed on the lobby floor.
A small crowd of couples had already begun to gather at the entrance to the hotel's pricey restaurant, blocking the building's front doorway. Yet, she still spotted him, almost automatically, as if she'd had her "charming blue eyes" radar turned on. Buffy only barely stopped her jaw from dropping.
"Crazy cane guy?" she muttered, knowing he couldn't hear her. Ok, rational explanation: very popular hotel with a very popular restaurant. He's probably got a "real" date tonight. Other rational explanation fitting into the Buffy-rule-of-sucking: he's secretly an evil something who's been tailing her.
"Buffy!" He waved, shooting her a smart-ass grin. His eyes slid over and back again, motioning to the guy walking in behind him, dark haired and looking as confused as she felt.
Buffy cocked a brow, wanting to turn around and hit the elevator again, but held her place. Something in his gaze was asking for help. Yeah, that was definitely a look she recognized. Even if it wasn't exactly shouting "I'm in danger of being eaten!"
Buffy crossed the distance, her high heels clicking on the marble design beneath, and tried to not look completely taken aback. "Hey," she said, and paused, "…you."
Had he given her a name? Probably not. Though, 2am and concussion makes for non-caring Buffy.
Doctor Cane-Man leaned forward, giving her hand a gentle touch and slipping something into her palm. Buffy recognized it with only a glance. Her hotel card. Good work--make it easy for the Big Bads, leave your address behind. Well done.
And random confused guy was blushing. "She's real?"
Of course, he'd been talking too low for normal people to hear, so Buffy pretended not to notice. Still, it was a strange response. Which totally fit the situation.
"How's my Valentine?" Buffy asked.
House's grin widened, as if that were even possible. "Better now," he said. "Ready for our date." Then, pretending as if he'd forgotten the other man, he turned back around. "Oh, Wilson, you're still here? Thanks for the ride, but if you don't mind, Buffy and I would like to spend the rest of the night alone." Confused guy--Wilson--opened and closed his mouth, but was cut off, "Don't worry, Dad, she'll get me home before curfew."
Buffy bit back a chuckle at the sheepish expression on Wilson's face and watched the man clumsily back out of the hotel. As soon as he disappeared, her attention went back to her Valentine. She donned the hotel card he'd returned.
"This isn't creepy at all," she noted. "I don't remember dropping this at the store."
"Happened when you destroyed the card display on your way out." He shrugged, putting weight on the cane. "Brain injuries make you kooky like that."
"What's your excuse, then?" She shook her head, smiling. "Oh, and did I just get used in some sinister plot to make your buddy believe you have a life?"
"Hey, you went along with it, concussion girl."
Buffy paused, eyes narrowed as she examined him. Only, he was doing the same, and apparently his quips were faster than hers. "You don't look like crap," he said. And he seemed surprised.
"Super healing powers," Buffy replied.
"That explains it."
"You know, if we're going on a pretend date, I should really get your name."
"House." He stepped closer, leaning in further than Buffy usually allowed. She felt a tingle run down her back when those suspicious blue eyes stayed on hers. "You should
look like crap," he said. "Not, you know, smokin' hot. It's unfair to the rest of the injured people out there."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Super healing powers," she repeated, "like I said. Of course, they're secret super healing powers, so if you tell anyone, I'll have to kill you."
"I find it's best to start with the death threats." House straightened, the curiosity still remaining in his gaze barely covered by amusement. "But the super hero identity explains the horrible name, at least." Before she could reply, he'd hooked her arm in his and turned her toward the line of couples. "I hope you know, I don't go Dutch. You're paying. And any services I perform afterward cost extra."
Buffy felt the hairs on the back of her neck raise, but she didn't turn, already knowing that she was being watched. The two pairs of eyes were at the elevator, their owners trying to hide behind the doors as they snapped a shot with their camera phones. And Buffy didn't have it in her to point out the slayers, or stop them… Sure, the photo would probably be on the internet in half an hour, the Scooby gang scandalized at being left out of the loop, but at least homebase would know that Buffy still took time to appreciate the holidays. And that she had a love life.
Well, a pretend love life.
"It's cool," she chirped, "the hotel owner owes me a favor. Me and mine, we eat free here."
House's arm tightened around hers, and he turned, lips parted, brows raised in mock delight. He let his eyes stray down, taking in an unapologetic eyeful of her cleavage. Buffy didn't bother to reprimand him, only allowing herself the chance to watch the glee surface on his face.
"Great view, free food, and I got to make Wilson feel like an ass? I should really date more often."
Buffy turned from him, a small smirk at her lips. "We really should."