Title: Wisdom in the Teeth
Rating: PG (just a tad of gore, but not what you'd expect...)
Summary: You know, I'm just not going to tell you. It would spoil the surprise...
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or any of the original characters or ideas from the show. They all belong to Joss, Mutant Enemy, etc. All I own is this plot which I made up my very own self.
Distribution: Just ask, if you want it.
Feedback: Love it! I want to know your likes AND dislikes. Flames are the only thing I will not accept.
Spoilers: up to last week's night o' sex eppy -- what was the title of that anyway?
Author's Note: This fic is deadicated to my sis, roomie and sometimes co-author Sonya. Thanks for all the editing you do for me, and for creating these fun section titles. :)
~*~*CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT*~*~
"No! Please don't! I'll do anything…" Buffy Summers looked up with unabashed pleading in her eyes. "I'll do all my homework. I'll eat all my peas and carrots. I'll floss five times a day."
"I'm sorry, Buffy." The middle-aged man with kind, dark eyes gave her a smile.
"I want a second opinion!" Buffy demanded.
"Now, honey, calm down…" Joyce Summers put her full amount of maternal honesty in her "this is for your own good" tone. "You can't get out of it."
The man pointed to the X-rays sticking to a lighted display on the wall. "Your wisdom teeth have got to come out."
Buffy's face fell into a pout.
"I'm sorry, dear, but it's got to be done," Joyce said, giving her daughter's hand a squeeze. The dentist knows best." She glanced toward the man in the rolling chair for affirmation.
He took over the dialog. "Don't worry, Buffy. I practice oral surgery in addition to general dentistry, so you can just come here."
The girl nodded reluctantly. She'd rather have her family dentist do the job than some specialist she didn't know.
"You've always been a quick healer," he continued in the reassuring tone of one in a medical field. "When you had that last cavity filled, you were up and around again quicker than anyone I've ever treated."
"My daughter," Joyce inserted proudly.
"It's got to be the good genes," he said with a smile.
With a deep, long-suffering sigh, Buffy said, "OK, Dr. L. I'll do it. When?"
"Talk to Jeanie up front. She'll set it up for you."
~*~*ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A BOWL OF JELL-O & SOME PAINKILLERS!*~*~
Joyce drove Buffy back to her dorm. As they pulled up in front of Stevens Hall, Joyce looked at her daughter. "Now, Buffy, are you sure you want to do it this Friday? I would have gone with you, but that's the day those out-of-town big-wigs are coming to the gallery."
Buffy nodded. "If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it quick. Friday is best because we've got the day off of classes-Fall Break. I'll have a long weekend to heal."
"OK," Joyce said as Buffy grabbed the door handle. "But just remember what the dentist said. You have to have someone drive you there and pick you up. Are you sure Mr. Giles can do it?"
"If he can't, I'll call Dr. L. and reschedule for a day when you can take me."
Joyce gave Buffy a quick hug, and said, "Have him bring you home afterwards. When I get home from the meeting I'll pamper you and make you Jell-O and food you can eat through a straw."
"Yum," Buffy said with a sneer of distaste. "I'll tell him."
~*~*THERE'S NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF... AND THOSE ANNOYING BUTTERFLY X-RAY THINGIES!*~*~
Friday morning dawned grey and drizzly. At the sound of the alarm clock, Buffy burrowed farther down under the covers. When the annoying thing didn't spontaneously stop beeping, she reached a hand out and slapped the snooze button. When the clock started to beep the second time, Willow groaned from her twin bed on the other side of the room.
"Buffy! You've got to get up. Wisdom teeth, remember?"
Sitting straight up, Buffy turned off the alarm. "Thanks, Will. Sorry I woke you up on our holiday."
Willow mumbled something intelligible and snuggled back down under her comforter.
Buffy dressed quickly in jeans and an old T-shirt. The advice from all quarters was to wear something she didn't care about. She pulled her hair back in a flat, silver clip, and put on no other makeup or accessories. She left Willow asleep once again, and went downstairs by the curb to wait for Giles.
Her Watcher's tiny car pulled up with a sputter. Buffy walked around to the passenger side and got in. She looked over to say hello to Giles, and did a double take. "Hey, Xander. What are you doing here?"
"Limo service all the way to the dentist."
"But what about Giles?"
"Well," Xander explained as he began to drive the five miles back to the main part of Sunnydale, "Giles decided that since I work for him now, I could do this and he could sleep in."
"Giles… sleeping in?" Incredulity colored her voice.
Xander shrugged. "He was up late working on some demonology thing. I don't know. Lackeys don't ask, they just obey."
Buffy sat back in her seat. "So now I'm just a chore for you."
"Never!" His voice was strong. "I'm your Xander for the day-Gile's orders, but he couldn't have picked something that I'd rather do. I swear."
She laughed, finally giving in. "OK, I believe it. You'd rather go with me to the dentist than organize old books or whatever…"
"Hey, and the plus side is that I get to see my uncle."
Buffy stared at him. "Your uncle?"
"Yeah, Dr. Andrew LaVelle… You didn't know?"
"Well, he's my uncle, on my mother's side."
When they pulled into Dr. L's office, Buffy was still in shock. She told him as much as they parked and went inside. "I just can't believe you're related to Dr. L. I mean, I guess I haven't met much of your family, but I've been going to Dr. L. since we moved here… This is weirdness. It's like two worlds colliding."
Xander just looked at her.
Buffy realized she was babbling, and shut up. Then they were in the waiting room, sitting in the vinyl-covered chairs waiting for her turn. Buffy began to feel afraid again.
He looked over at her, a concerned expression on his face. "Hey, Buff, are you all right? You look kind of like you did that time you were in the hospital… Are you afraid of the dentist?"
"No!" Buffy tried to sound indignant, but under Xander's gentle stare she relented and told the truth. "Well, yeah… a little. I mean, the routine stuff is OK, but when he starts with the needles and the pliers and the scalpels, that's when I start wigging. Oh, and those stupid little butterfly X-rays that always make me gag."
Xander laughed out loud. Buffy frowned at him, and he stifled the noise with his hand. "I'm sorry. It just that you face so much every single night of your life, and… and… butterfly X-rays?" His lips and chin trembled, but he held the laughter in.
"I know!" Buffy slumped in her seat, and the vinyl made funny squeaking noises with every move. "It's this wisdom teeth thing that's the worst, though. I can handle all that other yucky stuff if I just put my mind to it, but I really don't want to do this. I've heard horror stories about drool dripping out of your mouth and dry sockets and everything…"
"I've had mine out," Xander admitted. "It was that summer you stayed with your dad in LA. Uncle Drew figured it was time, so I just did it. I'll admit, it was a little gross, but the pain went away quick. All you have to do is follow directions. I promise, and I'll help you, if you want-you know, not eat solid foods too soon, keep on your painkillers, rinse out the holes… well, maybe I won't help you with the last one, but…"
His mock-horrified look made Buffy giggle, and she felt a little better. There was just one more thing. "He's going to knock me out, isn't he, Xander?"
Xander nodded. "Yeah… well, on me it was this special kind of anesthetic. Uncle Drew said it doesn't quite knock you out, but you won't remember anything afterwards, like you were asleep. But if he yells at you, you'll be aware enough to do what he says, open wider and all that."
"Weird." Buffy wrinkled her nose as she thought about that. The she looked back up at the boy sitting next to her. She had to tilt her head up. Buffy had never noticed before exactly how tall Xander was. It was kind of comforting. "Would you do something for me?"
"Will you stay with me while they're doing it? I just… I'd just like to know that someone's in there with me while I'm unconscious, or whatever." She looked down at her hands, wondering what he would say now that she'd admitted her cowardice.
Xander reached over and laid his hand on top of hers in a comforting gesture. "While you're… er… resting, I will watch over you. I promise."
"Thanks." Buffy rewarded him with a dazzling smile. Then Jeanie was standing in the door to the waiting room, ushering them back. Buffy soon found herself in a dentist's chair wearing a blue paper bib and staring up at Dr. L. and his assistant. She craned her neck to see Xander. He lurked in the doorway, but moved closer when he saw Buffy searching for him.
"Alexander Harris!" Dr. L. cried, noticing him when he moved. "How are you, kid?"
"Fine, Uncle Drew, just fine," Xander replied with a nervous smile. "Just here with Buffy."
"And to see your old uncle, I hope?"
"Sure, that too."
Dr. L. walked over to Xander and gave him a hug, then brought the boy back to stand near the chair, just behind the assistant. "Don't worry about being in the way," the dentist said. "I'm sure she wants to see you."
Buffy looked at Dr. L. gratefully. "Thanks."
Then things got busy. There was the prick of a shot, and Buffy's world was darkness for a while.
~*~*IS THAT COTTON PACKING IN YOUR CHEEKS OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME?*~*~
She thought she heard someone calling her name once, but it was lost in the fog. And then there was a repeated yelling dragging her out of her nice, cushy, comfy world.
"Buffy! Buffy, you need to stand up now and walk into the recovery room."
She felt strong arms helping her, but everything was still fuzzy and spinning. Then gentle hands sat her down again. Buffy sighed and started drifting again. But the silence wasn't as complete as before. She could hear voices around her, and, if she tried, even distinguish the words. She didn't try too hard until she recognized Xander's voice.
"We've known each other for over three years now," he was saying.
Then Dr. L. said, "But how long have you been going out?"
"We're not going out!" Xander hastened to explain.
"No way!" Dr. L. protested. "I saw how she looked for you when she didn't know where you were. And I watched the way you stared at her during the whole procedure. I know my nephew, and he's in love."
<Love!> Buffy thought, but even if she'd wanted to she couldn't have said anything clearly. She waited for Xander to deny that. Sure he'd had a crush on her way back when, but there were so many things between here and there-Cordelia, Scott, Willow, Angel, Anya, Parker…
Xander didn't say anything for a long time. When he did, his voice was soft. "Yeah, I love her, but we're not together."
"Stuff… life… I don't know. That and the fact that she doesn't feel that way about me."
"Yes, she does! I can see it."
<No!> she thought, <no… we're just friends… right?>
"No," Xander said, echoing her thoughts, "we're just friends."
"If you say so," Dr. L. said doubtfully.
Just then Buffy moaned, and the conversation stopped.
"Buff?" Xander asked softly. "How're you doing?"
She tried to answer him, but the response wasn't intelligible. Her cheeks were all puffy. Buffy started to freak! Did she have swollen chipmunk cheeks? She opened her eyes and looked into Xander's. Slowly, she moved her fingers up to her cheeks and felt a wave of relief wash over her when she realized it was the cotton packing making her cheeks big. Talking wasn't possible, so she settled for a tiny groan.
"That good, huh?"
Dr. L. leaned into her line of sight. "Buffy, you can sit here as long as you need to. I'm going to give Xander an instruction sheet about how to take care of yourself until your gums heal, but my nephew can tell you all about it, too. He was a great patient."
"Runs in the family, I guess," Xander muttered. "You wouldn't believe what I know about root canals!"
Buffy wrinkled her nose and moaned a little.
"OK," Xander said in mock surrender. "I get it. Enough shop talk."
Dr. L. bid Buffy good bye, with strict instructions to come back for a checkup in a few days, slapped Xander on the shoulder and made him promise to come back for lunch the next day, and then he left to go see other patients.
Xander sat down in the chair next to Buffy and waited while she rested. Soon-sooner than Jeanie expected-Buffy was ready to go. Xander helped her to Giles' car, and gently settled her in the seat. Solitious to her every need, he handed her Kleenex when she needed it, put the radio on her favorite station, stopped by the pharmacy and waited while her painkillers were bottled up, and he drove carefully, avoiding every bump and pothole that would make her uncomfortable.
She looked at him with thankfulness when they finally pulled into her driveway. Though she was still a bit numb, she could finally make some semblance of normal speech-but Xander had to strain to understand her when she said, "You've been great, Xand."
"Hey," he said with a grin as he opened the car door with a flourish, "it's my job."
It wasn't really his job, Buffy knew, but somehow she was so very glad he was there. He'd made this whole ordeal bearable.
They went inside, and Xander helped her upstairs. Her mom wouldn't be home for a while yet, so he settled her into her bed.
"Mom moved the boxes," Buffy mumbled.
"What?" Xander asked, settling the pink blankets around her.
Buffy just shook her head. It wasn't important.
"Would you like anything?" Xander asked. "TV? Water? Soup through a straw?"
Buffy patted the side of the bed next to her. He looked at her in surprise, but he sat down.
"Just stay with me a little," she managed to say.
Xander settled down in bed next to her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. It felt nice. The painkillers had started to kick in, and she was getting that woozy, floaty feeling. Soon she'd be asleep again.
"Xander?" she said just before drifting off. "You're the best. I don't tell you enough, but you are." Seconds later her even breathing signaled her return to dreamland. Xander just sat there, cushioning her head with his body.
Then he whispered, "I love you, too, Buffy."