"Mom! Dad! You're here. Please, what's going on? There are doctors and they keep saying something about me being schizo and some other world in my head and I've been here for 5 years and...and I don't know what happened or how I got here or what I did and I don't remember anything...I'm so scared Mom." The girl was hysterical and she began sobbing.
Her mother rushed over from where she had been standing in the door way. "It's OK sweetheart, it'll be OK. Mommy's here now." Joyce Summer's sat down on the bed next to Buffy and wrapped her arms around her daughter. "Oh god I missed you so much. I can't believe your back, don't ever leave me like that again." Joyce rested her head against Buffy's and began to cry, tears mingling with her daughter's.
"It's alright honey. All that matter's right now is that you're here; mind, body, and soul." Hank Summers walked over to the hospital bed and placed one hand on his wife's shoulder and one hand on his daughter's. "If you don't remember, that's OK. It's nothing worth remembering anyhow, those memories wouldn't even really be you."
"But I want to know, I have to know what happened to me; where I was." Buffy turned up her wet, blotchy face to look at her father; had it really been five years since she'd looked at him that way?
"Buffy, only you know what was happening in your head, what your hallucinations were..." The man on the other side of the room, Dr. Adams according to the lapel pin on his lab coat, began telling Buffy.
"But, I thought you kne..." Joyce began but stopped talking at the insistence of the doctor's glare.
"I seriously advise you not to try and conjure up any memories of your fantasy world, they're only traps for your mind Buffy, they'll pull you back in." The doctor finished.
"Trap-traps for my mind?" Buffy asked softly.
"Yes Buffy, traps. Any memory you have of the world you created, they're not real; they're not real Buffy." Why did the doctor keep saying her name like that? Was it a shrink thing? Buffy didn't like it. "They may feel real, they may sound real, they may even smell real, but they're not. You've been trying to take comfort in a world you created, Buffy, a world where you have ultimate control. That sense of comfort can deceive you and pull you back inward, away from what's real. If you are going to get better we're going to need you to concentrate on what's real instead of having you chase some fantasy."
"So you think I'll get better? Can I leave here than? Can...can I go home?" Buffy asked timidly.
"Soon Buffy, the doctors want you to stay just a little while longer, but you'll be home with us soon enough." Joyce promised her daughter.
"Just a few days." Hank agreed. "The doctors just want to talk to you a little, reacquaint you with your surrounding, and get you started on some medications."
"Keep in mind Buffy," the doctor added, "that even after you leave you will have to come back several times a week for sessions with one of our therapists. We want to keep you as healthy as possible, Buffy. And on that note, perhaps you should get some rest. I really think it will help, you have a lot to deal with." The doctor motioned to Buffy's parents.
"We'll be back first thing in the morning, honey." Joyce assured her, as she stood up from the bed.
Buffy watched as her mother and father shuffled towards the door, each glancing back to get another look at her. As her parents reached the other side of the room the doctor placed and arm around Joyce and leaned in to her ear.
"I would advise you not to tell Buffy that we know much about her delusions," Buffy heard the man whisper in a voice so soft she wondered how she was even able to hear. "If she finds out she will want to know what we know and that may trigger memor..." And the voice was gone as the door gently swung closed.
"Please Buffy, sit down." A middle-aged Englishman in a tweed suit sat in a large, black, leather chair.
Buffy shuffled along, further into the room. She was dressed in an oversized sweatshirt and a pair of large, plaid pajama pants. The clothes were swimming on her and it made the already diminutive girl look even smaller; though she could not have looked smaller than she felt. Buffy reached the couch and sat down, bringing her slipper clad feet up under her.
"Have we met before?" She asked him. He looked so familiar.
"I'm Dr. Prescott, I've been working on your case since you first came here. In fact, I'd rather say you're one of my favorite patients." He smiled softly at her as he removed his glasses and polished the lenses.
"Because you are the slayer. Into each generation a slayer is born."
"Wonderful. You work on your muscle tone while my brain dribbles out of
"You're my Slayer. Go knock his teeth down his throat."
"Being able to put your heart above all else. I'm so proud of you. You've come so far. You're everything a Watcher... you're everything I could have hoped for."
"Buffy! Buffy, are you quite all right?" Dr. Prescott asked with concern.
"Yeah, just, kinda a deja vous-y moment. But...but it's gone now." Buffy shook her head as though trying to shake out the creeping sensation that tingled up her spin into her brain.
"Very well then, why don't we get started?" He said gently. "I'm going to begin by asking you a few questions."
"Okay, I...I guess." Buffy agreed.
"What is the last thing you remember before waking up yesterday?"
"I...I'm not sure. There are all these things swimming in my head and, I can't pick them out, they're there, but it's like, it's like they're no there for me, ya know."
"Yes, I understand. Buffy, there were times when you were more lucid then you were at other times. Your mind was always functioning in that other world but on many occasions you would still walk around and go through the motions and you may have a sensory memory of those times. What I want to know, however, is the last thing you remember for sure, your last concrete memory. There is no correct answer Buffy, just tell me what you think." Dr. Prescott looked at Buffy with soft, concerned eyes that made her feel as though she really could trust him.
"I think...I think remember talking to Jenny at school, about Tyler. We'd just broken up and...and there was a rumor that he was going to apologize, to...to get back with me."
"And how did you feel about that?" He gently prodded her.
"I was happy, I think. He'd...he'd embarrassed me...told people rumors about me, and I wanted him to be embarrassed too." Buffy concluded.
"Very good." Dr. Prescott congratulated Buffy. "Now, how about your home life? What do you remember of that?"
"Mom and dad, they were fighting a lot."
"About what?" The doctor pressed.
"About me, mostly, I think."
"And your siblings?" He asked.
"I don't...I don't have any brothers or...or sisters. I thought you knew about me." Buffy asked slightly confused.
"I do, but I want to know what you know. Buffy, we just want to be sure that your false memories don't interfere with you real ones." Dr. Prescott assured her.
"So, then, I had a sibling, in...in my head?" She narrowed her eyes pensively as she looked at her therapist.
"Did you?" Was all he answered.
"I don't remember." She answered honestly.
"Very well, perhaps we should end here for the day. You're understandably, very overwhelmed." Prescott concluded. "Tomorrow we will have a group session. I think it will be good for you to interact with some real people your age." He stood up from his chair and walked over to Buffy. "I'll walk you out."