Disclaimer: I do not own any rights to House or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Story Summary: While doing some last minute Valentine's Day shopping, a peeved and slightly concussed Buffy meets an aggravating cane-wielding stranger.
Author's notes: Post S7 Buffy and an earlier season of House…(obviously, not s3, though). This is a two-shot, with "Be My Valentine" being the first story. So, if you want to read the sequel, you can add this story to alerts, because I'm just going to post it as "Chapter 2." Hope you enjoy-it was originally posted at Twisted Shorts August Fic-a-Day.
Word Count: ~1600 words
Be My Valentine
So, she was a thoughtless, selfish bitch, was she? Buffy Summers would show them. She'd show them all. She'd… damn it, she'd send them Valentine cards. Each and every one of them, even if it was the last thing she ever did. Which, considering her current shape, wouldn't be entirely unlikely.
Buffy limped over to the holiday aisle, holding the plastic basket beside her. A worker in a blue vest gave her a wide-eyed glance, but Buffy only glared at the woman until she took off in the opposite direction. Really, lady, really? You work in a 24-hour drug store and you don't expect to see blood-covered crazies out at 2am?Buffy stopped herself from letting out a growl-mostly because she knew the sound would probably hurt her bruised chest-and slipped in front of a stand of plushy monkeys holding giant hearts.
Fifteen bucks? For that? No way. Ok, maybe one for Dawnie. . . Buffy slipped one of the stuffed animals into the basket, and moved along, coming to a stop in front of a giant stand of boxed cards. Sure, they were intended to be given out by school children, but that didn't stop them from being viable options. Now to pick a style, and after a three-hour-long fight with a band of harpies who liked to go for the head, choosing wasn't getting any easier.
Buffy frowned, putting way too much concentration into the decision. Damn Valentine's cards. Such teases, each and every one of them, promising friendship and asking for dates and being all fluffy and cuddly and cute and…. Urg! Buffy took a breath, trying to recall when she'd become so cynical.
The shift in attitude wasn't due to Willow repeatedly degrading Valentine's Day for the marketing ploy it was. Nope, that wasn't it. Also, though it probably should have been a result of her numerous epic-fails in the relationship department, no men were to blame for her current state.
Actually, Buffy could pinpoint the exact moment, she'd started hating on the holiday. It was about twenty-eight minutes ago. Said harpies were dust in the wind-well, more like goop on cement floor-and Buffy was left smiling, a little pun at her lips when she realized she was still in one piece and the two younger slayers behind her were perfectly safe. Then, one of the other girls had gotten a phone call from Scotland, asking for a check-up.
Lucky Buffy, it was Kennedy on the line. And she was in a lovely post-break-up mood. Note the sarcasm.
Sure, it was expected that the teens would say something about Buffy's lack of a date on the grand disaster that was V-day. Buffy could roll with that. To them, she was "old". Her dating life, or lack thereof, was some foreign concept. Buffy recognized that. What was not expected was the jab made about Buffy's lack of caring.
Excuse me? Not caring about the holidays? Or the girls? All because she hadn't exactly been very Santa-like this past Christmas? Did they even realize how many slayers existed? How many contacts, associates, friends, THE Slayer had?
Obviously not. Because the second jr. slayer had laughed along, thinking Buffy was on clean-up-Harpy-goop duty.
"Buffy? Give out Valentines? In what alternate dimension?"
Buffy realized that one little comment wasn't enough to get worked up about. But it got all mix-y with the guilt trip Xander had put her through over not sending Christmas cards to her commanders, and Buffy had lost it, muttering to herself as she stomped out of the warehouse and a few miles away, in search of an open store.
Because, damn it, Buffy was not uncaring or cold or non-give-y.
She reached out, snatching a stack of goofy Japanese cartoon inspired cards. Now, only about a thousand more to go… Buffy figured she could label them, put them in a box and then ship them off to each base… Sure, they'd be late, but-
"No matter how many you send, he's still not going to be your Valentine."
Buffy froze. Because, apparently, she'd been so lost in her thoughts she hadn't noticed a man-a perfectly human looking man-sneak up beside her.
His cane clicked against the tile impatiently. Buffy's brow wrinkled as she took a full second to study him with an expression that clearly read "W.T.F." Kinda older, at least physically. Mentally? Buffy wasn't so sure, judging from the print-tee and brightly colored skater sneakers and the totally inappropriate comment. Ok, strange guy. Ignore him, he'll go away..
He raised a brow, his bright blue eyes surprisingly clear for the late…early? hour. "Or she?" he amended, wiggling his eye brows. He took a step back, taking her in. Buffy would have slapped him if she'd been in a better state of mind. "Wow, you look like crap."
"Do I know you?" Buffy asked, confused. And, hey! "I don't look like…" Ok, maybe. "You should see the other girl," she finished, and turned back to her cards.
And he didn't move, his head cocked in curiosity. "Fractured ribs, shiner, and that red stuff goes on the inside, you know." He frowned, not entirely kidding. "The other girl still alive?"
Buffy laughed. She couldn't help it. "That's for me to know."
His expression, sparkling eyes and a chewed down grin, was one Buffy recognized. She got it all the time, in fact. Strange Cane Guy was interested. Not like, "I want to take your clothes off with my teeth" interested but "you're hiding something" interested. Great. Just what she needed.
Buffy went back to ignoring him and grabbed another handful of boxed Valentines, not bothering to look at the theme. At random, she selected another row. The basket was officially not big enough.
"I've never actually had a concussed patient develop the sudden need to buy cheap cards."
Buffy nearly dropped the boxes under her arm. She turned, jaw set. "I am not cheap!" she snapped.
He blinked, surprised. Cane Guy shook it off, smirking back. "But still concussed."
Buffy couldn't argue that part. She'd taken a few flights and sudden drops over the course of the battle, and, yes, thank you, observant stranger,her brain did feel like it was about to explode out of her eyeballs.
"And, you still look like fecal matter."
"Thank you, Dr. Obvious," Buffy snapped, wincing at the wave of nausea. She bit it down, glared at the man beside her.
"You know, it's been a really crappy night, and just when my night seemed to be getting better, I found out that everyone I know-ok, maybe not all of them, but several-thinks I'm a heartless bitch just because I usually forget holidays. Could that be because I actually have important stuff to do? Oh, no, it must be because I'm a totally self-important Scrooge who cares nothing for the people she works to protect on a daily basis! Yes, exactly, that's the answer to the Buffy riddle!" Buffy sucked in a breath, tossing down the cards in her hands. The basket quickly followed, a manic smile painted across her lips. "And my solution? Buy cards most third-graders would call lame, because, apparently, I'm hollow inside and can't come up with a better idea!"
Cane Guy was silent a moment. He reached out, snatching a small box off the shelf. It was filled with candied hearts. Giving it a little rattle, he held it out to her.
His over-sincerity was anything but sincere: "Won't you be my Valentine?"
Buffy gently prodded at her forehead with two fingers, ignoring his comical little pout when she didn't reply right away. Mind explosion commencing in five…four…three… "What?"
He huffed, as if put out by having to explain himself. "Come on," he chided, "you know this. It's in the guidebook that falls out of all vaginas after puberty-if a woman wants to prove herself sufficiently busy on a holiday, she need only fall back on the age-old, 'I was too busy hanging out with my boyfriend' excuse."
Buffy stopped herself from commenting on his horrible impression of a female voice. "You want to go on a date?"
"No, I just want to skip to the cuddling." He rolled his eyes and shoved the box of hearts into her hand. "There. You've officially be Valentined. And I'll have you know I'm a quite the catch, a dashingly distinguished doctor with a heart of gold. Or some other heavy metal."
He gestured for her to leave. "Shoo."
Buffy held up the candy hearts. "Are you going to buy me these?"
"Buy them?" He looked taken aback. "I asked you out-the least you can do is spend the mula."
And Buffy finally realized why Cane Guy was actually on the aisle. He was picking up a box of chocolates. For some reason, Buffy had a feeling those weren't going to a significant other. He was on a late-night candy raid. Definitely not as old as she'd first thought.
Knowing it was probably the concussion, she picked a box up off the closest shelf, not cards, but a giant lip-shaped box of chocolates, and pulled a pen from her purse. Buffy scribbled down a message in the to-and-from note on the cardboard. She tossed the chocolate at him, and he caught it against his chest.
"I go Dutch. Happy Valentine's Day," Buffy said, a small smile at her lips, and stepped away. She didn't need to see his face to know that smirk would be back in place when he saw what the candy read.
To: My Cane-bearing Love Doctor
From: Buffy, the Concussed
Thanks for being my Valentine, blue eyes.