The Day I Was Born
This is a just-for-the-hell-of-it idea I literally dreamed up. My brain has spent most of the day trying to make it plausible.
This is a crossover. I can’t specify with what because it would ruin the surprise.
Also: The timeframes might not quite match up. I’ve chosen to go with the Buffy timeframe instead of the timeframe of the other show. But that one’s convoluted enough that I don’t think I’m horribly off, here.
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon created Buffy and its associated characters. Someone else created the other show -- I can’t say who. I’ll fully disclaim that one once I get to part two.
The character of Lynette Vaughn is entirely my own creation. As is the plot.
X X X X X
Faith approached the prison psychiatrists' office with a bit of apprehension. Part of her sentence was mandatory counseling until the state of California felt her psychiatric issues had been resolved.
Given Faith's family history, that was likely to be for the duration of her sentence.
Still, she actually liked Dr. Vaughn. The woman never talked down to her, never presumed she was stupid just because she wasn't very educated, and let Faith set her own pace. Best of all, she didn't try to force Faith to go on any kind of drug regimen. She could have; but she said she'd let Faith make that call, for the moment, anyway.
"You know the rules, Lehane," the guard said. "Stay in the chair unless the doc tells you otherwise. And behave yourself."
"I always do," Faith said.
"So far," the guard said, opening the door. "That's why you get to go in there without handcuffs or ankle bracelets."
"You make a girl feel all special," Faith said.
"Yeah, yeah," the guard said, laughing. "Now sit. I'm right outside. Doc's running a little late."
Faith meditated for a few minutes until the door opened and the guard let in Dr. Lynette Vaughn. Dr. Vaughn was a good-looking woman in her early 40's and must have stood a good six foot two. She was also a karate black belt and had grown up in inner-city Baltimore, so she knew how to fight. One of the reasons she worked well here. Not an inmate in the place intimidated her.
"How are you doing today, Faith?" she asked as she sat down at the table opposite the Slayer.
"Can't really complain," Faith said. "Other inmates still keeping away from me. I'm happy about that."
"I also see you're studying for your GED."
"Yeah. Never really got out of tenth grade. Off chance I ever get out of here I want to be able to offer prospective employers something more than my winning personality."
Frowning slightly, Dr. Vaughn said, "I thought you left school in ninth grade."
"I did," Faith said.
"You said tenth."
"Huh. Slip of the tongue, then. No biggie."
Dr. Vaughn made a note on her notepad. "You say you're happy with the other inmates keeping away from you. You've always been something of a loner, right?"
"Yeah. Hard lesson I learned early on that I couldn't count on anyone. My father died, my sister died, my mother abused me and then she died also. Other people could be useful, but in the end all you got is yourself."
"You don't sound so sure of that."
"I ain't. Don't get me wrong. I still don't think there's a lot of people around you can count on. But I found a few. Drove most of 'em away." Thank God for Angel, Faith thought. "I'm just glad there was one person who wouldn't put up with my crap."
"That would be this fellow Angel, correct?"
"Right. Saw through me when no one else could. Saw what I really wanted to do was kill myself when I came after him. Wouldn't let me do it."
Dr. Vaughn made another note, then said, "Any recurrence of those thoughts?"
"Nope. Easy way out. I ain't interested in taking the easy way out any more."
They spoke like that for about another twenty minutes before Dr. Vaughn said, "Faith, I'd like your permission to try something different.”
“Long as it ain’t Scientology, I’m game.”
X X X X X
This was good. Maybe she could help Faith -- really help her. Lynette knew that the conversations alone were helping her, especially because Faith tended to stay isolated from everyone else. By choice. Despite what the girl claimed, Lynette was sure that it wasn’t just her parent’s dying that had caused Faith to want to be a loner. She wasn’t sure what it was, but she’d find out.
“I have no interest in helping you fight off your inner Thetan,” Lynette said. Faith’s education was a bit odd, too. Every once in a while she’d show that she knew something obscure -- something from beyond the headline news and comic books. There was a very intelligent woman lurking under there.
And one who could still be saved. One who had, in fact, gone a long way towards saving herself.
“So what, then?”
“Hey, Doc, my life’s an open book to you anyway.”
“You’re remarkably cooperative,” Lynette said. “You’ve even talked about the murder you committed without me having to put pressure on you. That puts you one up on most of the women I have to deal with.”
“They’re still saying they’re innocent,” Faith said. “I’m not.”
“Still,” Lynette said, “I think it would be helpful. You almost never talk about your life before your mother died and you fled to Sunnydale. I realize that the abandonment issues led you to go to work for former Mayor Wilkins --”
“He was like a substitute father, yeah yeah yeah. I figured that one out myself.” Oh yes, she was smart, all right.
“But I think your issues go deeper than that. Can I try the hypnosis?”
Faith shrugged. “Why not? It’s not like I got anywhere else I’d rather be right now.”
Lynette knew that Faith practiced meditation; the man who’d rescued her, Angel, had brought in some tapes she used. So she’d become experienced at becoming relaxed.
Getting her into deep hypnosis was remarkably easy.
“Could you take me back to the day your father died?”
“No!” Faith yelled. “No. I can’t remember. I can’t remember.”
“And your mother?”
“No! I can’t remember that either!”
Lynette knew what the next answer would be, but she said it anyway. “And your sister?”
“Why are you making me do this?” Despite her agonized voice, she stayed under hypnosis. The guard was peering into the room, but Lynette waved him off.
“What day did this happen?”
“The day I was born,” Faith said. “April 10, 1997.”
“Faith, you would have been fifteen then.”
“No,” Faith insisted. “That’s the day I was born.”
Even then, Lynette was beginning to have her suspicions. “Can you go back any further?”
“There is nowhere further back to go.”
“Faith, you’ve clearly been alive longer than four years.”
“I was born on April 10, 1997,” she insisted.
“There is some part of you that had to have been around before that,” Lynette said. “Think.”
“Yes! Who were you before then? What happened? Tell me, Faith! Tell me so I can help you!”
Faith screamed right then, a scream of anguish, not rage. The guard opened the door, but at a gesture from Lynn stopped again and closed it.
She put her head down on the desk. When she picked it up again, things were different.
She was different.
Her eyes seemed -- wise beyond their years. And her expression had gone from anguish to cynicism.
“Okay,” she said in a near-monotone, “Where am I?” She looked around. “I knew it. Mom read my stories, and she had me committed.” She looked down at her outfit and continued, “Or possibly incarcerated. I didn’t realize stories could get one sent to jail these days. Perhaps we truly are living in a police state.”
This was the proof. Faith Lehane was a split personality of some sort. From what she’d said, this was “My name is Lynette Vaughn,” she said. “I’m a psychiatrist here at the LA County Jail.”
“LA County? That settles it. No more jalapeno pizza before bed.”
“I may not know much about the penal system, but I do know this: People getting punished for things they did in Texas don’t end up in prison in Los Angeles. Therefore this must be a dream.” She pinched herself. “Although, admittedly, the usual method of waking myself up appears not to be working. Perhaps a large anvil on the head would do the trick.” She kept speaking in the monotone. Lynette noticed that her voice contained no traces of Faith’s Boston accent. This was a genuine split personality.
“You’re not asleep, Faith,” Lynette said. “This isn’t a dream.”
“It must be,” Faith said. “I can see you clearly and I know that even at age 16 my eyesight’s 20-100 at best. Eyesight just doesn’t get better overnight.”
“What day is this?”
“April 9, 1997,” she said. “And by the way, I don’t know why you’re calling me Faith. It’s not my name. It sounds like a name my parents would have used back in their hippie days, and I’m thankful I wasn’t born then, but that’s not my name.”
“What is your name, then?”
“Daria. Daria Morgendorffer.”