Chance Meeting

Chapter 4: Interrogations

The film ended, and Mark stood up to turn on the lights. Buffy took back her hand and placed it in her other hand on her lap. She then took the time to look around the room. Joanne and Maureen hadn't moved that much from their last position on the chair. Mimi had found her way into Roger's arms sometime during the film. Mark was right, they really made a very cute couple.

She turned behind her to see Collins giving her a smug look. With the silent 'What's that grin for' question coming off her face, he turned his head to look at Mark, who was putting away his film and mumbling about getting his camera. She followed Collins gaze, realized what the smile was all about, and gave him an eye roll in response.

The conversation in the room started to grow. Maureen and Joanne were fighting about a clip on the film. Roger and Mimi were talking about Roger's new song. All the while, Collins and Buffy were participating in a fake fight with the maturity level of middle schoolers.

"So what? There was some hand holding."

"It's more than that."

"More than that? More than that! How can you even make an assumption like that?

"Easily. It's more than that."

"Looky here Mister --"

"Somebody has a crush on Mark --"

"Does not!" "Does." "Does not!" "Does!"

"Ahem..." Buffy turned her head to see Mark standing beside her, eyebrow raised in question. "He started it."

"So what was that all about?"

Mark and Buffy were sitting at the table drinking some tea. Well, Mark was drinking tea. Buffy was wrinkling up her nose while pretending to drink it. Maureen and Joanne had long since left, Roger went with Mimi to her apartment below them, and Collins headed to his room. Buffy didn't mind; the alone time was nice as well.

"If you're asking, it means you didn't hear it all then." It was more of a rationalization that she had spoken out loud, but Mark replied with a nod anyways. 'Well that's one embarrassing moment I was lucky enough to avoid.' She feared her sigh of relief was too loud, but he started talking again.

"I only caught the tail end when it looked like you two were going to start frantically slapping at each other. So are you going to answer my question?"

"A girl's got to have her secrets." 'And, boy, do I have them in spades.'

The two sat silently sipping their tea. It was a few moments before Buffy realized Mark was looking at her left arm with a scrutinizing look. It suddenly went to surprise and finally concern. "You're bleeding." She looked at it, now becoming aware of the small nick right below her shoulder.

"One of them must have gotten off a lucky shot." It was said barely above a whisper, but Mark registered the information. He didn't waste much time figuring it out however. Quickly jumping up, he proceeded to drag Buffy to the bathroom.

Pulling out a small towel and a few first aid supplies, he began his interrogation. "What happened?" He went to place the towel on her wound, but hesitated a bit before finally completing the action. 'Must be a bit phobic of blood. Don't blame him much.' She took it from him and started clearing the excess blood away. It revealed just a small cut. Nothing that she would ever worry about.

She wanted to skip this conversation. She didn't feel like going into explanation about her whole secret lifestyle. Mark noticed her pause and followed with another question. "One of who?"

He was clearly concerned for her, but she noticed the anger stressed in the last question. "It's nothing really. I just got into bit of a scuffle before I reached your place. Those oh so famous New York muggings."

His worry only escalated. While she began to bandage up the cut, he took her left hand into his. She smiled at the action. It was so simple, yet so meaningful.

Taking a moment, she noticed that this effected her mainly because nobody really showed her this kind of concern anymore. Sure she had friends that cared, but they knew better than to worry about a scratch like this. Hell, she was the girl that walked into Hell and back. This injury wouldn't even earn a scoff.

She was forced to blink back a few tears of happiness. Mark must have thought they were a reaction to her earlier encounter, because it was only a brief moment before he enveloped her in a tight embrace.

They stayed like that for awhile. It was Buffy who finally pulled away. She started to clean up the small mess that was made when she looked at Mark's face in the mirror. It was still etched in worry. She gave a small laugh. "It's ok Mark, really. I'm fine. This is nothing. You should see the people I fought." 'If they weren't dust clouds that is...' "I'm quite good at taking care of myself."

He must have sensed she was being sincere and calmed down to his normal self. Or what she assumed was his normal self. 'You really don't know what normal is for him. You've only known him for a few days.'

Back at the table, they shared a few conversations about various things from Mark filming everything to Buffy's positive integration with his friends. Except with the slight conundrum that was Maureen. Mark couldn't help but laugh. "She's a bit of a diva. Who knows what her problem was tonight."

It was at this point that Buffy noticed Mark going into sleepy mode. It was obvious that he wasn't going to ask her to leave, and she sure as hell wasn't going to stay here. 'Yeah, I'm starting to like the guy, but that would be way too fast.' So that left her with the option of gathering her stuff and leaving.

She made it to the sliding door when she realized Mark putting on his coat. "What are you doing?"

He looked at her, his shock expressed openly. "Walking you home. You don't expect me to let a beautiful girl walk the streets of New York alone at this time of night. Especially after what happened to you today."

She failed miserably at hiding the ever growing red on her cheeks. "That's really sweet, but I don't want to put you through the trouble." 'Plus I don't want to worry about you getting home safely...'

It took some time to convince him, but Buffy won her battle. On one condition. Mark handed her a piece of paper with numbers scribbled on it. "Call me when you make it back, ok?" She smiled and nodded. "And maybe later tomorrow as well."

'Well, at least that wasn't as awkward as before.' "Sure thing."

They caught each other in another hug by the door. Before breaking it this time, Buffy placed a chaste kiss on his cheek. "Goodnight Mark."

She closed the door behind her, checked that the hallway was empty, and did an 'I got the digits' dance before she started her trek home.

A/N: I think the Buffy/Rent crossover stories are starting to grow in number. Its nice to see. As much as I love Harry Potter to death (my name here is a statement to that), he's just been taking over far too much of this arena.

As always, thank you so much for the reviews. They keep me going, really. So keep on clicking that little purple button!

Disclaimer: I don't own (emotion, I) Rent. I don't own Buffy either.