Deals with mental illness (very vaguely). A bit more subdued than the rest in this series.Timeline/Authors Notes:
This takes place in the Guardian 'Verse (see link above) and takes place VERY early in the 'verse. This will make no sense whatsoever unless you've read the series. No spoilers for Atlantis (I'm just borrowing a character). Buffy Spoilers for Normal Again.Disclaimer:
I own nothing. Buffy and Angel people belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy. I don't own Stargate: Atlantis.
Doctor Kate Heightmeyer smiles gently at the woman in front of her and wonders if she knows the stir that she's caused in psychiatric circles. She seems uneasy, Kate notices, but she suspects that's because of Kate herself rather than a reflection of her mental health. Her patient doesn't like hospitals or even being in a doctor's office, so their therapy session is taking place in her parent's home. Kate doesn't normally make house calls, she doesn't usually take on civilian patients, but Buffy Summers is a special case.
There has never been a case of anyone making such a sudden recovery from undifferentiated schizophrenia like this and there isn't a psychologist or psychiatrist who wouldn't give their right arm to be sitting where Kate is now.
"How are you feeling today, Buffy?" Kate asks, giving her another smile.
Her eyes flicker to the video camera taping their session and shrugs. "Fine."
Kate nods encouragingly at her and silently hopes that Buffy will elaborate. She doesn't. Buffy has only been out of the hospital a few weeks and is terrified about going back, so these sessions are usually slow moving. "Have you been sleeping well?"
She hesitates before nodding. Buffy doesn't meet her eyes, she's lying.
She hesitates again.
Kate leans forward in her seat and waits until Buffy meets her eyes before speaking. "Buffy, it is perfectly natural if you are experiencing nightmares. Given what you've been through, I would even say it is expected."
Buffy doesn't seem reassured by her words. "They're not dreams about Sunnydale or anything. They're..."
"What are your nightmares about?"
"I don't think that's the case," she says gently. She wishes more than anything she could find a way to help Buffy trust her, to make her understand that Kate isn't here to send her back to the hospital.
"Actually, it is," she tells her. "There's nothing in my dream. It's just dark."
She nods. "There's no light, no moon, no sun, and no stars. It's just pure darkness and in my dream I'm lost and alone."
Kate feels her throat constrict at Buffy's words. "Do you feel lost and alone when you're not sleeping, Buffy?"
She ignores the question. "I thought I would dream about them
, you know. That they would be all I dreamed about, but they're not. It's just dark."
"Darkness doesn't last forever, Buffy," Kate tells her. "It can't. There is an old African proverb one of my old professors shared with me: However long the night, the dawn will break
. The darkness will end and I know you're strong enough to survive it." It probably isn't the right thing for Kate to say, but the normal psychological approach doesn't work with Buffy and right now Buffy doesn't need to be psychoanalysed. She needs hope. Buffy closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Kate wants desperately to ask what she's thinking about but she keeps quiet. She waits for Buffy to speak, to trust her.
"So I just have to wait for the new dawn?"
Buffy feels a burst of joy at the sound of Luke's voice, at hearing him call her mom. She looks up from textbook to see Luke standing in the doorway of her study, blushing. It's all still so new to them. "Yes, sweetie?"
"Some of the guys are going to Derek's place after school. Can I go?"
"Can Jeremiah stay for dinner tonight?" Luke glances behind him before he elaborates. "He's having a bit of a hard time at home."
It took almost four years, but she's finally found her dawn.