Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, except, of course, for "Dr. Jinx."
Author notes: This takes place during season three, pre "Bad Girls," post "The Zeppo." Yes I realize the script format isn't "correct…" and yes I am too lazy to make it so. Hope it's still easily followed.
(Scene: interior, LIBRARY, Sunnydale High. Tables have been pushed aside, and eight people sit in chairs in a circle, as WESLEY hovers just behind, a pleased grin upon his face as he grips the straps of his suspenders and rocks back slightly on his heels, chin lifted in smug satisfaction. The eight people in the circle of chairs, overall, look none too pleased to find themselves there.)
(XANDER fidgets and darts his eyes, fingers nervously drumming on one knee; WILLOW thins her lips, her shoulders hunched. GILES appears stiff and exasperated, his hands resting on his legs; CORDELIA huffs, sitting with legs and arms crossed, eyes rolled to the ceiling. ANGEL is motionless, sitting beside BUFFY, as is OZ, but only Oz appears truly nonchalant; BUFFY and FAITH sit side by side, arms crossed defensively, but while Faith is slouched, scowling, Buffy's eyes shift continually, and her posture is straight. The last of the eight, DR. JINX, sits tall and with confidence, regarding each individually with a warm smile, but the few smiles she receives in return are forced; Faith gives a defiant scowl.)
Wesley: (still beaming, thumbing his overall straps and puffing out his chest with pride) As you all no doubt recall, I, as the distinguished and knowledgeable Watcher of the Chosen Two, Buffy and Faith-
(Faith snorts at the words "distinguished and knowledgeable," and Buffy nearly chokes, but Wesley continues as though he didn't hear it)
Wesley: I have decided that it would be within the best interests of the Slayers and their band of peers and confidantes to arrange a little enlightening discussion among themselves as a group to enrich the cooperative team spirit and broaden our knowledge base of personal and interpersonal self-awareness as a whole in order to more effectively operate as a force against the creatures of darkness. In order to do so, I have arranged for Dr. Jinx here, a truly knowledgeable and distinguished counselor of top status in her field, to hold what some might term a "group therapy" session among us.
Cordelia: In other words, he's dragged her in to point out which of us needs dragged off to the nuthouse. Let me save you the time, Jinxy, take all but me.
Buffy: (alarmed) There's, there's no need for any DOCTORS, OR hospitals, mental OR physical ones, been there done that on both, not again. I'm not sick, actually Slayers are very, very healthy…unless they are poisoned by their Watchers who are trying to steal their strength and feed them to a vampire the second they turn 18 (turning and staring pointedly at Giles, who removes his glasses and begins to clean them hurriedly). Unless there's that.
Giles: (still cleaning his glasses, but now staring straight at Wesley) Funny how some of us appear to consider ourselves outside the need of professional assistance, yet still manage to find reason to hover around listening to whatever might be said…I do believe there is a rule of confidentiality to abide by?
Dr. Jinx: I would just like to welcome all of you here today. Undergoing one's first group therapy session can be an uncomfortable and even frightening experience for many, so I appreciate that all of you were able to step out of your comfort zone to make it in.
Xander: Well, my comfort zone is generally my warm and snuggly bed, so I get used to being rudely booted out of it and into my pathetic and disrespected reality on a regular basis.
Giles: I wouldn't call it a "step" as though we have actively made a choice when some of us had our green cards threatened should we fail to "step" through the library doors today.
Willow: Some of us thought this would be another research day…or at the very least a nice apocalypse which might involve showing off my new and still-fairly-useless Wiccan skills.
Faith: Some of us came for the donuts because we're sick of eating only the shit that can be found in broken motel vending machines…where the hell are they anyway, X-Man's falling down on the job!
Oz: Some of us pretty much spend our days following our girlfriends around, and this is where she ended up.
Angel: Some of us harbor a deep and disturbing obsession for teenage girls so we sort of hang around schools to stalk and stare, since we can't get any without losing our precarious grip on our tortured souls.
(Everyone looks at Buffy for her retaliation; Buffy blinks)
Buffy: What? Like I'm supposed to know why I do anything? Doesn't ANYONE know better by now?
Dr. Jinx: Well, however you all got here, my goal today is for you all to have a discussion which will facilitate understanding and empathy among you and therefore help you to maneuver more effectively as friends and a team- (she looks at Wesley as if to make sure she's getting it right before turning back to the others) So what I will start off with today, is simply giving you all a chance to talk about what's going on in your lives today. So…how are you all doing?
Giles: (heavily sarcastic) I am simply delighted to be here.
Willow: (blushing and squirming uncomfortably) Um, I'm fine?
Xander: Well, due to recent events…excellent…but due to this present moment…I'll go with a rousing "fine" too.
Oz: Existing nicely.
Angel: I would say surviving except I'm not interested in making puns.
Faith: Five by five.
Buffy: I'll go with the fine option of "fine" too.
Cordelia: (rolling her eyes) Well, we are lying scumbag cheaters, dorks who wouldn't know cool if it smacked you upside the head with its Prada bag, as emo as a guy can be with red hair and a total lack of emotion or broad shoulders and a crazy amount of hair gel, so insecure we can't stand ourselves, prissy, British, slutty, broody, pedophiles, harboring severe and emotionally damaging daddy's issues, poor, homeless, PTSD, gay and in the closet, murderers, and insanely jealous…we have an obituary section in our school newspaper, we fight evil and undead as a hobby, and every one of us have dated a monster. But of course, all of us are fine. We have zero tension or severe emotional and mental problems in THIS room…woman, open your friggin' eyes, do you really have to ask?
(everyone immediately starts mentally sorting through the list of accusations and trying to figure out which one applies to them with looks of extreme discomfort)
Willow: (voice squeaking, eyes flitting to every female's cleavage before immediately darting away) Gay? Who's gay…there's, there's no gay person here…that, there is no…is there? (hopeful tone)
Buffy: I'm not a cheater or British or homeless…or, or dorky, or slutty, or emo or…(looks at Angel with discomfort) harboring daddy issues…(looks at Faith with equal discomfort ) or gay? (this comes out sounding a lot more like a question than a statement)
Faith: (smirking, stretching) But you do have a stick up your ass...any way you can do an emergency surgery to help her remove it, Doc Jinxy?
Xander: (muttering) We can stick it up Angel's ass instead…I mean, I mean his heart! Through his heart!
Cordelia: (cutting her eyes to Xander) more of that gay subtext going on, huh?
Dr. Jinx: Everyone, calm down, I think we need to take a step back here and take a deep breath. Clearly, all of you have a lot going on right now, and I seem to sense an undercurrent of resentment in the room-
Buffy: I think your undercurrent is a little more current. As in alive and swimming into the…well, uh, the current.
Dr. Jinx: My sense here is that all of you need to have an opportunity to air your grievances, work through your differences, and gain a new understanding and appreciation for each other and what each of you are individually going through. You all already know each other, and that's half the battle. What you all need now is to gain a deeper knowledge in order to truly appreciate each other as a whole.
Faith: A deeper knowledge, like, say, my friggin' last name?
(several blink and look at her blankly)
Buffy: We know your last name! It's, uh…wait a second…it'll come to me…
Willow: (under her breath) Faith The-Second-Slayer? Faith The-Friend-Stealer? Faith Boobs-On-Display?
Faith: You WOULD pay attention to my boobs, wouldn't you, Willow-Looks-At-Dirty-Pillows? (snickers; Willow turns a flaming red as her eyes dart from said boobs to Oz to boobs to Oz, appearing nearly panicked)
Willow: I-ah-I-you…I don't…you…you…you read Carrie? (desperate attempt to divert)
Xander: (perks up) Are we talking boobies?
Buffy: Faith if you grunt, or make one obscene gesture, I will punch you in the throat…(voice drops low, glances hurriedly at Angel, who has been watching in his usual furrowed-brow, perplexed silence) Or…possibly I will feel a strange urge to tackle you to the ground…IN A TOTALLY NONSEXUAL MANNER.
Cordelia: Forget freakin' group therapy, I think all your little issues would be solved with one huge orgy. Give me advance warning so I can run to my therapist screaming all the way.
Giles: For god's sake, please, give me warning too. I will then take these glasses, break them, and plunge the shards into my eyes.
Wesley: (gesturing triumphantly) Do you hear that, Dr. Jinx? Violent, suicidal impulses! And this is the man that was until recently working with our impressionable youth! It is certainly a good thing that I was able to boldly step forth and begin to set things straight again!
Buffy: I wonder if my fist, coming straight at your face, would be able to knock your teeth straight back down your throat? (sweetly)
Faith: (starting to jump up) Wicked plan, B, wanna help me test it out?
Dr. Jinx: Stop, please! There will be no violence in this session…um, despite the fact that it seems that violence is your most cherished skill and trademark, part of your job and purpose of existence, and permeates every aspect of your life-
(by the time she's managed to say this mouthful Faith already has a squealing Wesley by his collar and has drawn back a fist to hit him, so Dr. Jinx tries another tactic)
Dr. Jinx: OK LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX!
(this freezes everyone in their place. Faith stops, fist in the air, Xander sits up straight, his eyes eager, Willow turns a furious red and squirms in her seat, Buffy stiffens, her eyes darting, mouth twisting into an embarrassed and anxious grimace, Cordelia sighs and rolls her eyes in disgust, Angel puts down his head and assumes the Brood of Shame, and Giles wears a hole in his glasses with his cleaning. Only Oz merely shifts his eyes over to look at Dr. Jinx with no change in expression)
Faith: You mean someone else around here can say the word without going into a choking fit?
Xander: Did someone say the s word?
Giles: No, no, absolutely not. This is a school. This is a school LIBRARY…and I, this is ridiculous, and surely abusive behavior. For a teacher to discuss or listen to sexual discussions with students, with CHILDREN, surely this is abuse of some kind. And if it isn't considered abuse for them, I certainly consider it abuse for myself.
Buffy: I don't want to even think about…that…with old people around…
Cordelia: Didn't your boyfriend over there survive the Civil War?
Xander: (hurriedly) We aren't children, we're all over 18 or close enough, right? Nothing wrong with a little mature adult conversation-
Faith: Speak for yourself on the over eighteen, man.
Xander: (blinks, gawks) You're…you're not eighteen? But with the….(glances at her chest) and the…with the pushing, and the, the curve-steering, and the…the…
Cordelia: Is this your mature, adult way of informing us all that you slept with a girl who's not 18 yet, whose last name you didn't know, and who has been openly flirting with both Angel AND Buffy? How the hell did THAT play out, with her kicking you out in your tighty-whities?
Xander: They were boxers!
Wesley: Oh dear…um, perhaps…Dr. Jinx, if we could redirect to a less…stimulating…conversation…
(everyone including Dr. Jinx ignores him)
Buffy: (sputtering) Faith doesn't flirt with Angel! Does she, Angel? (worriedly)
Angel: Um. (extremely uncomfortable look, eyes shift between them both)
Cordelia: Oh but she does flirt with you?
Dr. Jinx: Er, perhaps we should move away from discussions of a sexual nature after all…
(everyone is talking over each other at once now and completely ignores her, other than Cordelia, who helpfully talks over them to fill her in)
Cordelia: (huge, exasperated sigh and eye roll) So here is it, don't get lost following this ridiculously tangled thread. Eighteen-year-old Buffy here is dating 250-year-old Angel, sort of, maybe, which is like the worst example of a girl with great-great-great-great granddaddy issues I've ever heard of. Buffy the Lolita Wannabe slept with him and he went all grrrr evil after. So she had to kill him which like broke her heart and all that, and then he came back, only they can't get groiny now because of the grrr evil factor. So now they just make out whenever anyone's back is turned and have to resist the call of the great penis, which is a mystery to me because how a dead guy gets it up when I've never even seen him crack a smile, I don't know. But then along came Sex Bomb Faith and suddenly Buffy's finding her deeply repressed but not-so-hidden bi-curious side as Faith flirts with every breathing human plus Angel that crosses her path but really only has eyes for Miss Perfect Blondie Princess Who is the Opposite of Everything She is Other than A Slayer. Meanwhile Xander is a horndog GUY who cheated on me with WILLOW, who is actually clearly a closet lesbian, which is pretty obvious from her choice of guy Oz, who wears nail polish and is as short as she is, but Xander also slept with Faith and sadly and falsely believes that means she's like in love with him or something, despite the fact she's also slept with some guy who beat her with horsewhips. Meanwhile I'm throwing myself at Wesley even though he's a huge dork because if anyone wouldn't cheat on me, it would be him, because he'd be that friggin' grateful I even gave him the time of the day. And Giles…well, who even wants to talk about his sex life or hopefully lack of a sex life? (huge sigh) God, we're all so disturbing.
(crickets. All conversations freeze. All people appear torn between either hiding under their chairs in embarrassment or clubbing Cordelia over the head with their chair. Dr. Jinx finally breaks the silence)
Dr. Jinx: (swallowing several times) Um. Perhaps we should steer away from er, sexual relationships and, um, discuss…family?
Xander: Well, my parents are alcoholics whose Christmas fights are bad enough to make sleeping outside seem an attractive option, even though we live on the Hellmouth and vampires lurk around every corner…so basically, my parents make death by vampire seem a preferable alternative.
Cordelia: My dad cheated on taxes for twelve years, got our house and most of my belongings seized by IRS, is now a wanted fugitive, and abandoned me to make my way through my already shortened life on my own, with no money or support whatsoever. I will never mention their existence for the rest of my life.
Giles: I am a middle-aged single man, living alone in my house, no children, all my family across an ocean, not so much as a cat to call my own, whose girlfriend was murdered in his bed.
Buffy: My father calls me about twice a year, my mother recently kicked me out of her house when I came out of the Slayer closet, then tried to kill me a few months later.
Faith: My mother is a deceased abusive alcoholic, my Watcher was tortured to death in front of me, my father is an alcoholic involved with the Irish Mob who has battered my self-esteem into nothing, and I would trade places with any of your families in a second because as shitty as you say they are, they still look better than mine.
Angel: I killed my entire family…um…really slowly and painfully…but it was a long time ago. And I didn't have a soul.
Willow: My mother took five months to realize that I cut my hair, causes my best friend of three years by the wrong name, and bought all my clothes for me until I was seventeen years old….I guess I got off lightly though?
Cordelia: I don't know, the clothes were pretty damn horrific.
Willow: Um, none of us have siblings either…even though that's a very large statistical probability given that most of the population has at least one sibling, and there are eight of us.
Buffy: We don't yet, anyway.
Cordelia: Think we have enough to deal with, with just the horrible fathers, blatant neglect and lack of supervision, and outright abuse.
Dr. Jinx: (eyes wide, looks at Oz) Um…Oz? What about…your family, are they…
Oz: (shrugs) My parents are cool.
Dr. Jinx: (swallowing, looking rather frazzled by this barrage of information) Um. Well, uh, since this group is about…building relationships, and strengthening friendships, and, um, cooperation and…(mumbles) whatever else Wesley was saying….(lifts her voice to a normal volume again) Why don't we, uh, just talk about friendships instead? You know, your relationships with each other…PLATONIC relationships?
(everyone looks around at each other awkwardly)
Buffy: Uh…well, we are. Friends. Platonic. Except for some of us…but not all of us! (quite obviously turns her head away from Faith) We, we get along. As friends. That's what we all are, friends.
Xander: (hurriedly agreeing) Yes, yes, we are all friends. There is not with the kissing, or the groping, or- well, except for some of us, and some of us that might be heading towards the us us and not the non-us-us, and-
Willow: (talking over them just as hurriedly) Yes, we're friends, and there, there's nothing with the, and that vampire me was from another world so she's the OPPOSITE of me, so just because she's all with the licking and the touching and the-
Faith: Are you friggin' kidding, we're all friends? Does everyone who breathes air somewhere near you get counted as your friend in your own mind?
(the other three stop and blink; Cordelia takes over)
Cordelia: Miss Fear-Me-I-Wear-Black is right, they're all totally full of crap. Let me lay it out for you, all right?
Dr. Jinx (mumbling) Judging on the exchanges so far, that's a rhetorical asking for permission, isn't it?
Cordelia: (ignoring her, gesturing to each person as she mentions them) Buffy is the little blondie princess of the group. Everyone worships her from her little blonde head to her little pink toenails, god knows why, and half the issues everyone has with each other is actually because they're jostling for favor with HER. Xander has a thing for all Slayers and actually, all breathing girls, yet he's a huge dork who can't actually GET them or do anything more useful than fetching donuts, so he's got a big resentment thing going because no one will take him seriously, yet he's so lame who ever would. Willow is a typical geeky insecure sidekick who defines half her existence by being Buffy's AND Xander's best friend, and god forbid anyone threaten her whole purpose for living. Which means she hates Faith by default, not to mention the fact that Faith is obviously a skank but "exciting," where Willow is a closeted lesbian who thinks walking on the wild side is turning in a library book late.
All mentioned: HEY!
Cordelia: (continues blithely) And Faith, with her daddy's issues, raging PTSD, total lack of friends and family, and of course, the wild Buffy obsession that all the rest of you share, wants Buffy all to herself, which makes Willow jealous, which puts Buffy in the middle, and Faith on the outskirts and not anyone's friend at all. And then there's Angel not caring about anyone BUT Buffy, and Giles and Xander resenting that and secretly hoping he gets a stake through the heart-
Xander: Who says THAT'S a secret?
Cordelia: Anyway, Angel isn't friends with anyone, mainly because of the fact he's a creepy ex-killer vampire whose soul sometimes makes a wild getaway for freedom. Plus there's the fact that he doesn't have a personality, opinion, or sense of humor.
Angel: Not until I get my own show, anyway.
Cordelia: And my total resentment and desire to seek my own private form of vengeance against Willow and Xander for being the cheating scumbag pathetic losers they are, which obviously extends out to all the rest of you because you're their friends and you never actually liked me all that much in the first place, or appreciated me actually giving up cheerleading and parties and dates to RESEARCH and SAVE THE FREAKIN WORLD, and I never liked any of you either, so what do I care? Except that all of this kind of sucks. (as an afterthought) Oh yeah, and with Oz, well, he doesn't really seem to have any hard feelings towards anyone and no one seems to have hard feelings towards him. But that's because he's hardly more than a walking cool cucumber, literally.
(Wesley has sat down long ago with his head in his hands; Dr. Jinx appears to be clutching her chest)
Dr. Jinx: Um…perhaps we'll discuss…a less personal topic…maybe…stress…in your lives?
Willow: No one takes my witchcraft seriously, my best friends both like FAITH, I might not get a 4.0, and I might…possibly…occasionally…have thoughts about…people who aren't of the male gender.
Xander: I just lost my virginity to a girl I kinda think has no interest in me and who could beat me up with both hands and her feet tied behind her back. I am weaker than all of the 110 pound females and the one 5'4 male I have around me. I have no job, no talents, no self-esteem, and my future will likely consist of asking people if they would like fries with that.
Giles: I have been sacked from my job as Watcher, my Slayer now mistrusts me, the other Slayer who had been temporarily under my care appears to be on the verge of finding herself in police custody at times, I haven't any idea how to save the world from yet another apocalypse, even if we do so, I will be out of a job, and I find it quite possible I will die a lonely and somewhat useless man.
Cordelia: I have no money, no chance of going to college anymore, no friends, no boyfriend, I have to actually work for a living on MINIMUM WAGE, and when demons ruin my outfits in battle, I have no way to actually REPLACE them.
Faith: I'm homeless, friendless, family-less, poor, possibly mentally ill, definitely traumatized, too aggressive, promiscuous, misunderstood, and heading for either committing homicide, suicide, or being murdered. Oh yeah and I'm also a Slayer.
Buffy: The fate of the entire world rests on my shoulders. And they are very thin and bony. Oh, and my boyfriend sometimes kills people, tries to kill himself, and can never have strolls on the beach with me. Or sex. Or eat a Thanksgiving meal. Or…do anything approaching normal.
Oz: (shrugs) I don't stress.
Dr. Jinx: (opens and closes her mouth without finding words)
Buffy: So, Dr…um, about this session…what do you say we call it to a conclusion?
Dr. Jinx: (nods weakly, opens her mouth, but everyone else is already jumping to their feet, talking all at once)
Angel: Buffy, you know that us and normal will never-
Willow: You had sex with FAITH?
Cordelia: Like you have a right to say anything, why do you even care, you're dating OZ!
Xander: It was- I never- you like people of the non-male gender?
Faith: Did anyone hear a WORD I said other than that I screwed Xander?
Buffy: Xander didn't have sex with Cordelia?
Faith: Of course no one did, why would I figure any different?
Buffy: No one really worships me…do they?
Giles: I need a Scotch. Immediately. Actually I need one Scotch for each person currently speaking.
Oz: That was interesting.
(as the sound of their voices fade, camera zooms back in to library, where Wesley and Dr. Jinx remain. Dr. Jinx is still shaking her head, in shock)
Wesley: (hovering close) Um…Dr. Jinx…I am quite sorry about how this has all…the children, they are often rebellious, and enjoy deliberately shocking-
(Suddenly Dr. Jinx grabs Wesley around the neck and pulls him close, kissing him deeply and intensely. Wesley's eyes bulge, and he sputters and gasps before she pulls away, looking every bit as disturbed as before)
Dr. Jinx: No…no, this is definitely real…I think…vodka…
(as she stumbles out the door, Wesley stands very still, his eyes still wide. Then he begins to smile, lifting his chin and squaring his shoulders in pride)
Wesley: I THOUGHT she was looking at me…
(he struts out the door, banging briefly into the frame, then, momentarily disconcerted, but nevertheless drawing himself up in pride again, strolls out)
(end scene and script)