Welcome to Plainsboro
Response to Challenge 2040: Buffy’s House challenge. (See challenge for rules.)
Joyce had a brief relationship in college. Due to her beau's rather.. acerbic nature, they broke up. Shortly after they broke up, she met Hank, and discovered she was with child. Her ‘condition’ spurred Hank on to propose. Sixteen years later, Joyce is dead and legal custody reverts to the biological father.
Hint: It ain't Hank Summers.
I couldn't help myself, y'all. I saw this challenge, and ideas just started popping into my head, left right and center. It was a moral imperative.
BtVS characters and concepts owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. House, M.D characters and concepts owned by Fox. I own a copy of the DVDs for both series. Go me!-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
It was a heartbroken Buffy Summers that trudged into the office of her mother's lawyer, alongside an apparently peeved Hank Summers. The heartbreak was easy to understand. Her mother, Joyce Summers, had just passed away unexpectedly. The doctors stated that it was an unforseen brain tumor that had simply gone for too long without attention.
However, the peeved father was something that she couldn't have helped. She just couldn't tell him about that. The principal of Hemery High School had this silly notion that burning down a gymnasium was an expulsion offense. Never mind the fact that a fair portion of the student body had seen vampires running amok while Buffy was busy fighting Lothos. Apparently, they simply elected to selectively edit that little span of time
And it seemed that Hank was more focused on the expulsion than the burial of his spouse. But then, he'd grown increasingly surly and distant as the years wore on, so while she was quietly outraged at her father's behavior, Buffy couldn't say she was exactly surprised. Yelling at Buffy tended to trump all other activities for the recently widowed financial consultant.
To further aggravate Mr. Summers, it seemed there'd been some irregularities in Joyce's will, and her attorney had called them down to hear what those might be.
"Alright, Mr. MacDonald," Hank huffed, gesturing imperiously for Buffy to have a seat, "what is it you have to say, that couldn't be said over the phone."
Lindsey MacDonald suppressed a sigh and stood to offer the obligatory handshake to Mr. Summers which was roundly ignored. Presenting that same hand to Buffy seemed to yield a slightly better response, though the poor girl couldn't summon up even a fake smile if her life depended on it right now. Not that Lindsey could blame her. Poor kid.
"Thank you for coming down, Hank, Buffy," Lindsey greeted. He stepped back around to sit at his desk, extracting a manila envelope from a pile. "Well.. it seems that not too long ago, Joyce came in to have her will changed just.. slightly. Here, let Joyce tell it. Seems kind of redundant for me to say it, when she's got it all laid out here."
God, he hoped there was more to law than this family drama stuff. He wanted more from his career than reenactments of assorted soap operas. Perhaps he'd send his resume to that office downtown. Those Wolfram and Hart counselors seemed to be a sharp bunch...
Lindsey cleared his throat and began to read, " 'For the past few years, it's become clear to me that not all of us were terribly happy in our cozy little family unit. I tried to keep things going, for Buffy's sake, I really did. I thought that if I did my best to referee, to keep our home lives from being too tense, I could provide a stable atmosphere for my daughter to finish growing up in'."'My daughter'?
Buffy wondered, forgetting to be miserable for a few moments. Why did she word it like that?
" 'It's clear to me now, that this was a futile hope. In the event, God forbid, something should happen to me'..."
Ah, there was the misery, rushing right back. Buffy's bottom lip began to tremble.
"...'I want my little girl to be taken care of. Hank, you haven't been happy for a long time. You know it. I know it. And I'm quite certain that your secretary knows it'."
Buffy's head snapped to look incredulously at Hank, who cleared his throat uncomfortably. She might have gone on to get very angry at him, were it not for both confusion and Lindsey's recitation of the will distracting her.
" 'Should something happen to me before her eighteenth birthday, it's my wish that Buffy be sent to live with her biological father. A trust fund has been set up in her name, to be opened to Buffy on her eighteenth birthday, with the exception of travel expenses and unforeseen medical emergencies. This trust fund will consist of the contents of my personal savings account, separate from the joint accounts held by myself and Hank. All communal property will, of course, fall to Hank, excepting that which Buffy wants to keep to remember me by...'."
A few more legalities regarding the joint property of Joyce and Hank closed the reading. As soon as Lindsey was finished, Hank leaped to his feet. "This is outrageous! I'm not sending her off to God knows where, when I'm the one that's supported her for--"
"I'm afraid it's not up to you any longer, Hank," Lindsey growled, having had to put up with this nonsense more than a few times in the past from the argumentative Mr. Summers. "Joyce has made her wishes clear, and the question of who is her biological father has been answered without a doubt. It's not you. You know it, and Joyce knew it."
He turned and shed his attorney demeanor for a moment. "Buffy, I'm sorry you had to find out this way. It was Joyce's hope that she be able to tell you herself, when she thought you were old enough, but.. well. If you'd like, you can stay here with me, until I can get an off-duty police officer to escort you back to your house to get what things you need, and let us know what you want done with the rest. I'll take care of getting the rest of your things to you, don't you worry." For at heart, Lindsey was a decent sort, though that'd been roughened by his years of school and internship. But he hadn't lost that core of goodness quite yet.
Hank's response to all this, was to simply snarl and storm out of Lindsey's office. The attorney rolled his eyes, but kept his commentary to himself.
Buffy didn't know what to think about all this. Hank wasn't her father. Some other man she'd never met was her father. She thought she should be more upset, but somehow, it explained a lot, now that she considered the past six or seven years.
"Who... who's my real father?" Buffy asked in a small voice.
Lindsey gave her a supportive smile and turned to dig a soda out of the mini fridge, passing it along to the girl, "Well... I've never met him, but I can tell you he's a doctor. A pretty famous one, from what I can gather." As such things were counted among the medical community, at any rate.
That made her smile, just a little bit. While she didn't have any widely ranging plans to become a physician, one of her guilty pleasures during the summer and on sick days from school had been to watch General Hospital
"There's just one catch, Buffy. Two, really," Lindsay continued, still using his rough-yet-gentle tone with her. "He lives in New Jersey, and he's got tenure at his hospital, so I don't think he's going to be able to move away. But you have more than enough to get yourself and your belongings over there. The other is, well... Joyce never exactly told him..." -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
Dr. Lisa Cuddy tapped her foot in the conference room that was used by the Infectious Disease team. Seated around the table, looking uncomfortable, were Doctors Eric Foreman, Robert Chase and Allison Cameron. The focus of her ire? Dr. Gregory House, who was sitting in his office, phone to his ear, and looking like someone had recently smacked him in the forehead with a sledgehammer.
Glaring at the door as if she had the power to melt the glass in her way, Cuddy growled, "What the hell could he be talking about on the phone for so long, that's more important than his very angry
boss, who's about ready to go in there and stick that stupid cane right up his--"
"He didn't tell us!" Chase protested, holding his hands up peacefully.
Cameron nodded. "Yeah, he got the call while we were arguing over the Foster case, and kicked us out of his office." She was still miffed about that. House was still positive that the boy, Keith, was suffering from Hepatitis-E, when the profuse bleeding and vomiting was so clearly pointing to Lupus.
"On the bright side," Foreman murmured thoughtfully, "at least he looks like he's forgotten about his leg for the time being." House and Cuddy had a little bet regarding the crippled physician's love for his little white pain pills. Cuddy's answering glare, however, moved Foreman to pick up a legal pad and study some notes they'd been going over shortly before the phone call.
"That's it!" Cuddy snapped, "I don't care if he's on a call to regrow his thigh muscle in there, I'm going in."
"Can't," Foreman stated, still studying the notes. "He locked both doors." Cuddy's reply to this news was to emit a quiet scream of frustration.
Abruptly, House hung up the phone and dialed a number. It was only four digits long, so it must have been within the hospital. Two sentences were exchanged, and he hung up the phone again. House then leaned back in his chair, hands covering his face for a few moments.
Cuddy marched over to the locked door separating his office from their conference room. "House! Get out
here, now!" she demanded.
House gave her a dull look, as if he wasn't really seeing her. He then stood up, and began to limp over to the door. Cuddy's look of satisfaction was quickly replaced by indignation, as he passed that door by. Instead, he opened the door to the hallway, just in time for Dr. James Wilson to enter. He then closed and locked it once more. Locking eyes with Cuddy, he then performed the ultimate insult. He closed the blinds between himself, and her and the rest of his team.
"I can't believe he just did that," Cuddy stated, too astonished to be angry for the moment.
Cameron blinked at this development. Perhaps this had nothing to do with the case? House certainly wasn't going to let his leg pain get in the way of trying to prove to them all that he was so very much smarter. Even if he was so obviously wrong this time, because he was detoxing from the Vicodin.
A few minutes later, House and Wilson joined the rest of them. Before Cuddy could draw breath to yell, he cut her off. "I need to take off for a few hours."
to be joking." Cuddy's rant had been neatly deflected, but she wasn't above incredulity.
"Yeah. I'm joking. With my jovial demeanor and tone, I'm ready for Open Mic night at the Improv." Raging sarcasm, of course. House was grimmer than any of them, save Wilson and Cuddy, had ever seen him.
Cuddy shook her head sharply. "You have a patient dying, House!"
"Fine. Put him on the transplant list, and do whatever voodoo you do to bump him up it. If he's still alive when I get back, we'll go back over why he doesn't
House was about to continue on that bent, his face indicating that some truly choice venom was in the offing, when he was forestalled by Wilson. "House... go down to my car and wait for me there. Please?"
With one final glare at Cuddy, House hobbled painfully out of the room and towards the elevators. Cuddy wheeled on Wilson, "What are you--?!"
Wilson held a hand up. "Lisa.. give him a break. He just found out he has a daughter." That
got everyone's attention. "You mean, someone spawned with.. him
?" Foreman asked, astonished.
"The mother never told him. It was a girl he met back in pre-med. Joyce something. I met her, too. She was.. nice. Which is why they didn't last, of course." Wilson's concern for his best friend, clearly didn't extend to trying to explain away what kind of person House was, even before he'd been crippled. "And, they apparently had a 'moment' before they broke up. Now, she's dead, and apparently she wants her daughter to go to him."
Cameron's face welled up with empathy for the girl who'd lost her mother. "Oh, the poor thing... what's her name?"
"Buffy Summers. Not sure if that's short for 'Elizabeth' or not." Wilson clearly didn't think much of her given name, but he wasn't unkind enough to say so. "Anyway, she's apparently landing in New Jersey in an hour or so, and I'm taking him to pick her up."
Wilson paused. "Cameron, would you come with? I think .. Buffy.. would be more comfortable if there were a woman present." And, he figured that Cameron's tendency to fuss and bond with tragedy, would help somewhat. Of course, Cameron agreed right away and scrambled to fetch her coat.
"Fine..." Cuddy sighed, the wind having been completely drained from her sails. "Just get back here as soon as you can. I'm going to go see what I can do about getting Keith moved up on the donor list."
Wilson and Cameron left to catch up with House. Cuddy headed off to her office. Foreman and Chase looked at each other.
Foreman slowly shook his head. "Why does it seem like everyone in the world who shouldn't have a child, does?"
Chase shrugged. "Well, if this girl doesn't put the 'fun' in 'dysfunctional' yet, she will soon."