Author's Note: Okay, so this is a coauthored fic between xaphania and myself. We worked really hard on this fic and we had a lot of fun doing it. Anyway, we hope you enjoy! Thanks goes to CallMeKitten, PaganBaby and Maryperk for helping out *hugs*! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW!
Chapter 1Buffy hated hospitals.
She hated them so much. So much so that she avoided them at all costs, but she had to go to one today. She was blaming it on Dawn. Dawn had chased her up the stairs and Buffy had stubbed her toe on the steps. It had really hurt, and she was convinced it was broken. Stupid sister. If Dawn hadn't forced her to run up the stairs, Buffy's toe wouldn't be swollen and throbbing now.
So, she was sitting in the icky hospital waiting room with its uncomfortable plastic chairs, its nasty medical smell, and all the gross other people who were sneezing and coughing. The media was always going on about various deadly coughs and colds. You couldn't be too careful, which is why she had a face mask on. And all this, just so she could get an x-ray on her toe. She hoped she wouldn't have to have a cast.
Okay, okay, she knew a potentially broken toe was a silly reason to be sitting in a hospital waiting room, but it really hurt and she didn't want to take a chance on some weird foot deformity – because that so wouldn't look good with the bargain Jimmy Choo's she'd bought last week.
Finally, the nurse called her name and Buffy hobbled behind her to the examination room. She hobbled over to the bed and sat on it, swinging her legs up. She asked for a pillow to prop her foot up; she remembered hearing that elevation helped. Now she'd have to sit here in the sterilized room, bored out of her mind, for at least an hour whilst waiting for the doctor to show up. 'I should have brought a magazine...'
After counting the ceiling tiles three times, staring out the window at a bird perched on the windowsill, and reading the back of the label on her water bottle – twice – she was about ready to scream.
"Hello." A man with sandy blond hair walked into the room, pushing the glasses up on his face as he looked at Buffy. "I'm… uhh..." he stammered, adjusting his glasses again as he walked closer to her bed. "I'm W-William Pratt." He was obviously flustered and nervous. 'Aww. He's adorable. So shy. I just want to pinch his cheeks.' Buffy thought as he fought for his words. "I'm a medical student, just, er… observing for now. Did you uhm... did you hurt your ankle?"
Buffy looked at her foot and giggled, the sound like music to William's ears. "No, I stubbed my toe. I think it's broken," she replied then looked up at him again, gasping when she saw the intense blue of his eyes and the strong angle of his cheekbones. 'Change adorable to gorgeous, cos' damn!'
William stepped closer to her foot, placing his hands on both sides as he examined her toe, the nail was polished in a light pink color. "It's pretty swollen. We'll have to see what the doctor says, but I don't think it's broken," he stood up and walked towards the door.
"Wait!" Buffy said, inching up so she was sitting up a bit. "Don't go. I'm extremely bored. Keep me company?"
William walked over to her bed and pulled a lever, causing the head of the bed to spring up so she could be more comfortable. "I'm sorry, most patients don't want me to hang around. Do you really want me to stay?" he asked, playing with his hands in front of him. 'Here comes the ridicule...'
"I wouldn't have asked, if I didn't want you to, now would I?" she asked, a flirty smile playing on her lips.
William blushed and looked down at his feet. "Okay, I'll stay," he said softly, pulling the chair behind him closer so they could talk.
There was an awkward silence. William was obviously uncomfortable; his eyes darted around the room, looking at anything but Buffy.
Buffy, on the other hand, couldn't take her eyes off the shy young man before her. He was dressed in the oh-so-flattering uniform of medical students everywhere: loose fitting blue scrubs, and his hair was mussed and unruly, but Buffy was oddly drawn to him.
"So, you're studying to be a doctor?" Buffy asked, breaking the silence. She wanted to get him talking; his deep British accent had sent shivers down her spine.
"Oh," William looked up suddenly, his eyes wide as though shocked that she had spoken. "Yes."
"Great," Buffy smiled, trying to sound enthusiastic, but disappointed at his succinct answer. Did he not want to talk to her after all?
"You don't really have to stay here," she said, "not if you don't want to. You're probably really busy with the learning, so…"
"No!" William blurted, then his cheeks stained red and he looked down, embarrassed by his outburst. "I mean… all I'm supposed to be doing is visiting the patients. I'll stay."
"Good," replied Buffy.
"Besides, I'd rather talk to you than Mrs. Miller in the next room down," he leaned forwards conspiratorially, "she's got ten cats, and doesn't seem to be a fan of personal hygiene."
Buffy wrinkled her nose. "Ew. And I don't know whether to be flattered or not, if your only choices are the smelly cat lady or stupid Buffy, the girl who managed to break her toe by falling up the stairs."
"I'd choose you any day," William murmured. Buffy covered a grin as William's eyes widened, and he flushed.
"I just realized that I never introduced myself properly," she stuck out her hand with a smile. "Buffy Summers, pleased to meet you."
"Buffy? That's a name?" William cocked his head to one side and raised an eyebrow, voice filled with incredulity.
"That wasn't nice," Buffy pouted, eyes twinkling with mirth. She wasn't really angry - she was used to people acting like that when they first heard her name.
"Oh god! I didn't mean… it's just, I've never heard… I- oh, sorry! So sorry. You know what? I'll go. I'll just… go."
He stood up, the legs of the chair making a harsh scraping sound against the linoleum flooring, and met her eyes as he started to back from the room. "Really, I'm very sorry."
"Don't-" Buffy called out, but it was too late. The door fell shut with a soft click, and she was left alone in the stark white of the room.
"Damn," she muttered, sinking back down into her bed. She shouldn't have teased him like that. Now she would have to be bored all over again.