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This story is No. 2 in the series "Waifs and strays". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The second (much longer) installment in the Waifs and Strays AU. Covers season 1. Please READ THE SERIES INTRODUCTION!

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Joyce-Centered(Current Donor)vidiconFR1598780,0851591501417,38328 May 115 Jul 14No

Revelations and consultations

Author’s Note:

The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that.

Speech: “Who’s on first.”

Thought: *What’s on second.*

Vision: #I-don’t-know’s on third.#

Reviews are appreciated, they are not just there to strike the ego of the author, but to leave feedback that helps me develop my story telling and plotlines.

Chapter 2: Revelations and consultations

Buffy was looking at the broiled chicken on her plate as if it had committed a major crime. The crisp greens got an equally unfavourable look. Only the fried potatoes, made from the leftovers of the day before, seemed to carry her grudging approval.

“Something wrong with the food, Buffy?”

“No Mom, just thinking about school.”

“Anything serious?”

Buffy smiled a little. “Just teen angst.”

“Even angsty teens need to eat, you are a growing girl.” Joyce said it with an understanding smile.

Buffy sighed and started eating. “Yeah I know.”

“You know I was once an angsty teen? I’m here if you need me Buffy.”

Buffy smiled. “Thanks Mom.”

Dawn had been eating her chicken with singular intensity, hoping this would mean her mother would ignore her leaving the vegetables. Joyce looked at the green beans with lifted eyebrows and Dawn started eating them as well, but not until after she let out a put upon sigh.

They ate in silence for a minute; then Joyce turned to Dawn.

“So, how was school?”

‘’S okay.”

“Nothing happened?”

“No.”

“No fights?”

“No.”

“No bullying?”

“No.”

“Nothing at all?”

“Miss Mellowes still wants to meet Simon.” Dawn glared at her mother reproachfully; then went back to eating.

Joyce flushed despite herself. This was the first reference that Dawn had made to Simon in two weeks. She had gently discouraged her daughter’s enquiries about him in the first week. Since then Dawn had been silent about the subject, but now she dropped her bomb.

Buffy smirked at her mother. Joyce looked down at her plate. She sighed, toying with her food. After a while, when the girls were finished, she looked up again. “Why don’t you go out and play with Janice, Dawnie. Buffy, you can go out if you want. I’ll clean up.”

Dawn nodded and went out to play. Buffy stayed behind, helping her mother clear the table, pointedly emptying most of her mother’s left over food into a freezer box and then crossed her arms. The longest conversation about their unexpected visitor had been when a Dr. Ovrion’s assistant had called two days after the impromptu visit to set an appointment, to take place this coming Friday. 

“He hasn’t called?”

“He won’t.” Joyce was bent over, loading the dishwasher.

“He looked like he would.”  Buffy toyed with her hair. She was honestly surprised. He really had looked as if he would call.

“I said I’d call him when I was ready.” Buffy nodded, realizing the problem lay on the other side of the equation.

“So, call.”

“It’s too soon.”

“Mom…”

“No, Buffy. It is too soon. Please?”

Buffy noticed the tears falling onto the dirty dishes, placed a gentle hand on her mothers shoulder and whispered. “Okay, Mom, whatever you say.” 

She went outside, to report to Giles and patrol. Maybe meet with Wills and Xander later. Plenty to do in Sunnydale, even on a Tuesday night. And she really had to talk to Giles before talking to a shrink.

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Rupert Giles was stacking books in the library. Every day a parcel of books arrived to support the research necessary to enable to proper functioning of the Slayer. It was a pity she had not been identified before her inheritance of the powers of the Slayer. It would have made his life a lot easier if she had been trained from an earlier age to accept her responsibilities. Maybe then she would actually be interested in research. And maybe a bit more…biddable.

He sighed and pushed his glasses further up his nose as he looked at the spine of a rebound edition of the Chronicle of the Covens of Warwickshire. A thoroughly boring work written and privately published in the late nineteen seventies to describe the neo pagans of Warwickshire. Sometimes the Council was a little too thorough in the collection of arcane literature. There was a knock at the window and he looked to see Buffy hoisting herself into the library. A thin blade disappeared into her jeans as she stepped onto the floor. He sighed. He did not know where she had learned to break in, but it worried him.

“Buffy? What are you doing here? Is there anything wrong? And why did you enter through the window?” He placed the pile of books on the table.

She did not look at him but stared at the floor. “Can we talk?’

“Certainly. Meet anything while patrolling?”

“No, this is personal.”

“I see. Can I get you anything to drink?”

“Water please.”

He nodded and went outside to the watercooler, getting two cups full of water, then sat at the table opposite Buffy and handed her one of the cups. He took a sip and looked at his Slayer as she sat hunched and worried at her lower lip with her teeth.

“Giles, what do you know about me before I came here?”

Giles took a sip of his water. “John Merrick left an excellent journal.”

Buffy smiled wanly. “He would. But that would end before, you know…”

“Before his suicide. Yes.” He reached across the table and squeezed one small cold hand. “That was his choice, and it was the right choice, Buffy. He did it for you, but also for himself. I knew John; he hated the thought of becoming a vampire.”

“Yeah. I suppose. But do you know what happened after?”

“You killed Lothos, set fire to a gym and ran away. The Council has very little information on that period; Lothos rather effectively eliminated our network, or at least their ability to report.”

“I almost went to jail, my parents sent me to a psychiatric clinic and I have a juvenile record.”

Giles nodded slowly. “I had heard something like that yes, the Council tried to have the records sealed and expunged but it was too late, too many people know about it and the act was too public for plausible deniability.”

Buffy took a deep breath. “I need to be psychologically evaluated for juvenile court. Mom talked about me with Simon, you know the guy we talked about?”

Giles took off his glasses. “The gentleman with the scones? You mentioned him but I am surprised your mother would talk to him about something so private after having only just met him.” He took out his handkerchief and started polishing the glasses.

“Yeah well, he’s easy to talk too.” She took an even deeper breath. “She told him I believed I was the Slayer and now he’s arranged for me to go and see a psychiatrist, a Dr Ovrion. And he told me to tell him everything. I’m seeing him on Friday afternoon.”

Giles sipped his water. Then he took of his glasses and rubbed them carefully. “The Watchers have tried to get your record cleared, and failed. Our contact in the judicial system was killed by Lothos’ minions. That means you will have to go through the whole process. You will need a good psychiatrist. I have heard of Ovrion. He may be just blind enough to be what we need.”

Buffy glared at him. “What do you mean?”

Giles shrugged, putting his glasses back on. “He holds certain theories which will allow him to explain away your behaviour. Probably in such away as to get you of the hook, as you Americans put it.”

Buffy took a deep breath. “Okay. I’ll talk his leg off then.” She rose and made for the window. Giles walked up behind her and put a hand on her shoulder. He felt her stiffen.

“Buffy, I and the Council will do whatever is needed to help. You are the Slayer. It is our Duty.”

She turned and looked at him. “Yeah. That worked really well last time, when I was getting the One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest treatment,” She dashed a few tears from her eyes with the back of her hand and moved his hand from her shoulder. “I’m going on patrol. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She was out of the window before he could stop her. Giles looked after her disappearing form, worry in his gentle eyes.   

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The library at Sunnydale High was the unofficial head quarters of the fearless vampire slayers known as the Slayerettes. It was currently occupied by all of the slayerettes, though Giles rolled his eyes at the designation.

Willow looked at her friend. “Sooo. What do you think is going to happen with your Mom and Dr Mayer? Has he called yet?”

“God, I don’t know. And no, he hasn’t.” Buffy fell into the chair in the library she had claimed as her own.

Xander threw in a line from behind a bookcase where he was pretending to read a hefty tome. “He seemed like a good guy”

Buffy sighed. “Yeah, I suppose. I’m just afraid you know, he’s just using Dawnie to get close to her and then dump her after a bit. I think Mom’s afraid of that too.”

Willow shrugged. “He doesn’t seem the type to go wham bam thank you ma’am.” The red head suddenly blushed furiously, burying her face in her arms. The tips of her bright red ears were visible above her mauve sweater. Buffy swore she could hear a slight ‘Eep’ coming from her mortified friend.

Xander giggled. Giles stuck a head round from the bookcase he was behind and looked in astonishment at the girl. Buffy grinned. “Why Willow. I didn’t know you had it in you.”

When Willow had recovered enough from her embarrassment to emerge from her arms Buffy frowned thoughtfully. “Well anyway, Mom told me that he said he’d like to date, but would wait until she was ready. Let her call him. She hasn’t called him yet.”

 Willow blinked. “Oh. That’s a pity. He seemed nice.”

Buffy nodded. “Yeah, and if she waits too long he may go like poof!” She gestured in the air. “History.”

Willow’s eyes widened. She clapped her hands and raised her voice in an excited squeak. “History! That’s it!”

Xander stepped from behind the bookcase he was behind, accidentally dropping the magazine he had hidden in the book he was supposedly reading. “Is what, Will?”

“History! That’s where I know him from!” She dove into her bag and came up with her copy of the American history textbook they were studying. She moved into the early chapters, running her fingers down the pages. “Look here! The early history of New York! Settled by the Dutch.” A series of small reproductions of woodcuts and portraits were set on the opposing page, marked A selection of the Patroons of New Netherlands colony. In the upper right hand corner was a well executed portrait of a man in black clothing with a white lace collar, black haired and dark eyed, a strong Greek nose and a stubborn expression. A subscript read: Simon Hendrick Coenraad Meier IV painted in 1621, four years before his departure for New Amsterdam.

Buffy blinked. “Wow. That looks just like him. Except for the mole I think.”

Willow nodded enthusiastically, sitting at the library computer. “We can look and see if they are like, related and stuff.”

The slight red head tapped the keys furiously. As she was working, a thick leather bound book was placed gently on the table beside Buffy. Giles smiled at them triumphantly, opening the volume. The title page, showing a coat of arms, read: Of Service to the nation: A history of the Meier family of New York, from its beginnings until the present day. By Charles M. Andrews. Buffy noted the publication date, 1925.

“Holy shit.” Xander was awed. “His family’s got a book written about it.”

Buffy leafed through the book, showing various houses, photographs of etchings, engravings, paintings, of generations of Meiers and there wives and relations.  A large fold out family tree at the back had been added to by an unknown if neat hand: born 08-22-1944 Simon Hendrick Coenraad Meier XV, To Simon XIV and Elizabeth Alice van Rensselaer.

Willow touched the book in awe. “Coolness…”

She turned back to the computer and tucked her left leg under the right, and started searching in earnest.

Buffy, Giles and Xander leafed through the book as she worked. An excited ‘Squee!’ erupted from Willow. “Bingo!”

“What you got Wills?” Xander was the first beside her. “Meier Investments. Private equity firm for the Meier family, led by Simon Hendrick Coenraad Meier XV, chairman and CEO. No other share holders or investors listed. Also the Meier family trust, Meier Public Library on Staten Island, Meier wing of the Great Ormond street hospital, LA General Hospital, Calvary Hospital in New York… Meier buildings at Dartmouth College, William and Mary, Harvard, MIT Meier laboratories, UC Berkeley, Meier Hall at Somerville College in Oxford, wow there’s like a huge list!”

Buffy sighed. “Yeah, but is it him?”

Willow looked smug. She pointed at a grainy picture of Simon inset into a far larger one of Cyndi Crawford. “New York Daily News: Dr Simon Meier, reclusive CEO and last member of one of New York’s oldest and wealthiest families refused to comment on the rumor that he was dating super model Cyndi Crawford. Miss Crawford stated that he was one hell of a man.”  She spoke the subscript with a certain salacious fascination

“Okay… not the sort of thing I want Mom to know about.”   Willow proudly pointed at another picture of Simon, standing talking to the Governor and Mayor of New York. “Ta-da! There’s Simon again!”

The subscript from the New York Times local edition read: At the rededication ceremony of the Museum of New York history, Dr Simon Meier, last scion of one of New York’s oldest families speaks with the Governor and Mayor under the newly restored Meier dome. Dr Meier funded the entire restoration of the Cupola, dome, hall and the Meier wing of the building.

Xander whistled “Serious money. Really serious money.”

Giles gasped. “Good lord. I’ve met him. He lent the museum several artifacts from his personal collection for a special exhibition on ancient Egypt and its diplomatic relations. He wanted to visit the depot and spent quite some time digging through the stacks with us.”

Buffy groaned. “Okay, this just went really, really weird. Why would a man with that much money want to date my Mom?”

Xander raised his left shoulder. “Well, she’s a real nice lady.” Then he blushed.

Willow nodded quickly in agreement. “Xan’s right Buffy. Your Mom is really nice. I mean, maybe if he has been stalked by women like Cyndi Crawford he might like a nice woman?”

Buffy glared at the screen darkly. “I’m beginning to understand why she doesn’t call him. Sheesh. Nice woman indeed.”

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The following Friday Marcel Ovrion looked up at the sound of a knock on his office door. He called for his last visitor of the day to enter and the door opened softly. The slight girl who came in was obviously scared out of her mind. She had been crying, but not very recently. She wore no make up, probably fearing the make up would show signs of crying more clearly, she wore a white top, blue stonewashed jeans, and low white flat sandals. Honey blond hair, hanging loose about her shoulders framed a gorgeous oval face with soft, pouty lips and a slightly upturned nose; large green eyes looked at him dark with distrust and fear.

“Dr Ovrion?” Her voice was soft and controlled, vibrant. He rose and extended a hand, shaking hers as she held it out.

“I am Marcel Ovrion. I assume you are Miss Summers?” He had a slight accent, a touch of French.

“Yes.” He gestured at the comfortable chairs in one corner and the couch and chair in the other.”  “Please have a seat wherever you like. Coffee? Tea? Soda?”

“Can I have a coke?”

“Certainly.” He walked to the fridge in the corner and removed an already broached two liter bottle from which he filled a large glass, placing it next to her chair on a small table. He could feel her gaze on him as he did so. “There you go.”

Buffy observed the psychiatrist. He was small, about 5 foot 6 or 7, dark haired, quick of movement, like a bird, with large expressive brown eyes and a swarthy face. He was balding slightly and going a little bit grey at the temples. His face was kindly and lined with laughter. He wore a pair of jeans, a navy jacket, black oxfords and a high necked sweater. He poured a cup of coffee for himself and placed it on his own side table.

He took a large yellow legal pad from his desk, about halfway used, all the used pages carefully removed, and seated himself in one of the comfortable chairs, crossing his legs and placing the pad on his knee, reached into his pocket and retrieved a translucent throwaway ballpoint pen. He tested it on an edge of the pad and smiled at her reassuringly.

“So tell me why you are here.”

“I don’t want to go back to an institution.”

“I can understand that. Why did they send you there?”

“I needed to be assessed and treated or I would have been placed under care.”

He made a note on the fresh sheet of the pad.

“I see. Why do you need to be treated?”

“Didn’t you read my file?”

“No actually. I never read other peoples’ opinion on a patient before I have formed my own.”

Buffy blinked, surprised. “Oh.”

She looked at him. The look seemed to be him calculating the effect her next remark was going to have. “I set fire to a school gym. Burned it down.”

“I see. Did you have a reason for that?” He made another note on his pad.

“There was a powerful vampire inside, with its followers.” *And there’s the look: hello wacky valley girl, want to have some Prozac?*

“A vampire? I see. Was there a reason why you felt you had to burn the place down?”

“I thought I was the Slayer.”

“And what is the Slayer?”

“A chosen one, born once per generation, to destroy vampires and other demons.”

“Indeed? And you did this all by yourself? You had no help?”

“I had a friend, a guy called Pike.”

“I see. Anyone else?”

“A man named John Merrick. He was my Watcher.”

“What is a watcher? And you said was?”

“Someone who trains and aids the Slayer. He killed himself, shot himself, rather than being turned into a vampire and betraying me.”

The doctor made a note on his pad.

Do you still believe you are this Slayer?”

She swallowed convulsively. “Yes.”

“Good.”

She blinked. “What?”

“Would you mind lifting my desk?”

Buffy gaped at him. “What?”

“The Slayer, as far as I know, has strength, resilience and speed, far, far greater than that of normal girls.”

“You believe me?” Her eyes were wide and her mouth opened and closed like a fish.

He threw his pen at her and she caught it in mid air, a reflex action, yet faster than humanly possible. He smiled. “I will if you can lift my desk single-handed. It’s quite heavy.”

Buffy rose, handing him his pen, then walked to the desk and knelt below it, lifting it, with some difficulty, as she rose, grunting. “Is this thing made of lead?”

“Nineteenth century walnut and oak. Could you move it a few inches to your right? The sun hits the desk just in the wrong place this time of year.” He rose to help guide the massive thing.

She glared at him but moved the desk the requested few inches, lowered it carefully and moved from underneath. The psychologist handed her the cola.  She drank, looking at him over the rim of her glass as he took of his jacket and sat back down.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Why did you believe me?”

In answer he pulled his sweater down, revealing a faded but easily recognizable scar, obviously left by a vampire’s bite. Buffy’s eyes widened.

“My practice consists for a quite considerable part of those who have survived demonic attacks of various kinds. I help them adjust to life in a society where there is no belief in such things and yet they know it to be truth. I am a recognized authority on the subject.” He waggled his eyebrows at her.

“So you can help me?”

“I will do my utmost. When did all this take place? I assume there was a rash of strange deaths and disappearances associated with this vampire’s appearance?”

“Last school year, 1995.”

He rose and walked towards the computer on the smaller desk in the corner. “My name is Marcel by the way.” He threw the sentence at her over his shoulder.  

He tapped at the keyboard for a few minutes. Reading the reports and newspaper articles he found with interest. He asked the occasional question which Buffy answered to the best of her ability, and he apparently had access to closed files and police and fire department reports.  He smiled at what he saw. “Oh this is going to be a beautiful work of fiction.”

“Sorry?”

“Did you know that the gym you set on fire was found to have been extremely hazardous? Heating oil in the basement, highly flammable and hot burning building components. If I wanted to build an incinerator, it would have been this gym.”

Buffy looked at him as if he was mad.

“Add to that the fact that your little… caper coincides with a dramatic decrease in the frequency of attacks and disappearances.”

“Yes? Duh, I burned the master vamp.”

“So I get to write a classic Loudun syndrome case, with the added advantage that you did not just run from the perpetrator but actually managed to deal with them. Of course without identities and physical remains they can hardly prosecute you for murder. Not to mention that they will not want to, because that would merely show the massive incompetence of the DA’s office, the police and the fire department.”

Buffy very slowly stood up, her fists balling at her sides. “You’re going to write me up as a murderer?”

“Indeed, not, I shall merely include some inferences from available evidence. The DA can hardly take action on such nebulous conclusions, though he may privately agree.”

“And how are you going to explain to Mom that I kept talking about Vampires?”

“As I said, Loudun syndrome.”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Hellooo! High school girl here. Not really up on psycho babble.”

Marcel smiled. “Loudun syndrome is a catch all for the psychological reaction to certain cases of violence that leave a person so emotionally scarred the can only think of the perpetrators as demons.”

Buffy looked at him thoughtfully. “But I have no, you know, physical signs of being harmed.”

“Violence need not be physical. Threats and bearing witness to acts of violence can be equally harmful to the psyche.”

“Sooo… I was so freaked out by these guys that I felt the need to burn them to death?”

Marcel shrugged. “Possibly, possibly they were so scared by your reaction that they fled. Aggressive action is not the most typical reaction of Loudun syndrome, mostly apathy and depression, feelings of helplessness. But strong personalities may strike back, even at things they consider to be indestructible. I call that the “Mother superior” or Alpha personality reaction. You obviously have a very strong Alpha personality.” He winked at her.

Buffy smiled at him. “That may just be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

He bowed his head. “I do my best. I would like for you to visit a rape clinic however, it will look better in the report. More complete if we have definite proof there was no sexual violation,” He looked at her with concern in his eyes. “There wasn’t, was there?”

Buffy scowled, shaking her head. “Ugh. Do I have to?”

“Have to, no. But it would cover the physical aspects. And Vampire and other demonic attacks do often have sexual undertones at the very least. Loudun syndrome does as well” His face hardened as he said it.

She sighed. “Yeah, okay, whatever. Where do I go?”

“My wife is the director of a woman’s clinic. I will ask her to deal with it personally.”

“Is she, you know, um…”

“She was almost raped and sacrificed by three Askroth demons when she was fifteen. She is fully aware of the supernatural world.”

Buffy’s eyes opened very wide. “And she runs a rape clinic?”

“Margaret… Let’s say Margaret will always give her all.” Marcel said with obvious pride.

“Wow. Well okay, when do I go there?”

“I’ll have Frankie make an appointment for this afternoon. I’ll just go ask her.” He rose and stepped out the office. Buffy could hear a very softly whispered conversation.

“I’m going to have to invite your parents as well, to discuss the institutionalization. Which clinic did you get sent to?”

“Overton House. My Mom’s outside in the waiting room. Dad is… somewhere else.”

Marcel made a moue. “Expensive, but not my first choice. A pity I did not get to see you before.”

“Mom tried, but the case was refused.”

She saw his fingers tighten on the cup. “Mon Dieu… Je suis desolé.”

Buffy blinked trying to translate in her head. “Err. You are abandoned by your God?”

Marcel smiled. “Sorry, I was born in Quebec, I fall into my mother tongue when I’m emotional. It means, I’m devastated, desperately sorry.”

Buffy kept her face straight. “French is your mother tongue. You don’t say.” 

Marcel grinned. “Do I make fun of your valley girl lilt? But I really am sorry.”

“It wasn’t your fault.”

“That is very forgiving of you.” He looked at her pensively. “So how did you end up in my office? It is very rare a case is reconsidered by my staff, especially a relatively new case such as yours.” He walked to his desk and flipped the elastic of the file. A bright red sheet of paper was visible, and Buffy thought she could read Urgent and priority at the top. “Referred by Meier. You’ve been in contact with the local Meier House?”

“Meier house? What’s that?”

“The official name is Meier House for Troubled Youths. Private foster home if you will. But I assume from your question that you didn’t know about it.”

“No, a Dr. Simon Meier promised my Mom he’d get me an appointment with you. I don’t know about this Meier House.”

He stood stock still, his bird like fluttery movements halted. “Simon? Simon Meier? Might I inquire how your Mom got to know him?”

Buffy shrugged. “His car broke down in front of our house, she fed him tea, and they got talking. She let slip I believed I was the Slayer. He promised to intercede on my behalf.”

She suddenly looked at Marcel with a very intent look in his eye. “He knows about vamps doesn’t he? And the Slayer.”

Marcel smiled, highly amused. He sat down, sipping at his coffee.  “Ah, the infamous Sunnydale caper. I should have known. Simon? I would think he knows about vampires, yes.”

“So, is he a good guy?”

“Well he helps a lot of people. He funds the Meier houses for one.”

“No I mean, he was really nice to talk to, but is he a secret drinker, or sadist or wife beater or something?”

“Simon? I can not imagine him doing anything like that. And as for wife beating, he’s unmarried. Never been either”

“Lots of girlfriends all over the world?”

Marcel sighed. “Buffy, you’ve met him. He got you an appointment with me at very short notice. Not an easy task. Is there a reason you are looking for faults in him?”  He sipped his coffee.

“Well duh, he wants to date my Mom.”

Marcel sprayed his coffee so far into the room it almost hit Buffy. “SIMON?! DATE?!”

Buffy had reared back in her chair at the spit take and the roar. “Well yes, he asked if he could you know, date her, when she felt ready.”

Simon asked your mother out on a date?”

“Yes.” She glared at his incredulous expression. “What, you think my Mom is not good enough for him?” 

“I wouldn’t know. It’s just… I’ve known Simon for more than thirty years, he hasn’t been on a date for at least twenty five.”

Buffy gawped. “Never? Not even with Cyndi Crawford?”

Marcel nodded solemnly. “Never. Hence my surprise. He refers to Miss Crawford as ‘that dreadful gold digger’ by the way.”

Buffy smiled. Then her face clouded up. “Ummm. Why not? Date I mean.”

Marcel rubbed his nose. “As both his friend, and he doesn’t have many, and his psychiatrist, I can’t answer those questions. You’ll have to ask him yourself.”

Buffy’s mouth quirked. “Shouldn’t go to you for gossip?”

Marcel’s own mouth quirked in answer. “No. And I would appreciate you not telling your mother about this…Or letting Simon know I let it slip.” Buffy nodded. Doctor patient confidentiality travelled both ways in this case.

He sat back, ending that line of conversation, looking ruefully at his carpet. “Well I suppose I can get a throw rug.”

Buffy laughed. “So, where do we go from here?”

Marcel shrugged. “Well it seems to me that if anyone can do with a psychologist it would be the Slayer. So why don’t I have you put on monthly repeat and if you feel more or less need to talk, we can alter that. I’ll also give you my phone number in case of emergencies.”

“Thanks. And umm, that report about me to the Juvie court?” She looked almost as scared as she had when she first came in.

“I’ll tell them your case is intricate and will demand a number of sessions. Considering my reputation they’ll grant the extension. We’ll write them a nice little story. I doubt they’ll give you much trouble once I’m done.”

Her smile lit up the room. “Thanks. Really, really, really thanks.”

He smiled in return. “A small repayment for all the good you have done and will do.” His desk phone rang and he lifted an eyebrow, rose and picked it up. “Ovrion.”

He relaxed, his face lighting up. “Oh, hello love. Yes, I’m done with her, final appointment of the day. I’ll send her over, if she and her mother agree.” He looked a question at Buffy, who shrugged.

“Let’s get it over with.”

“Very well, I’ll have Frankie call you if it’s good. Call you on this number when I’m home? Very good, see you soon love.”

“Do you want your mother to know the truth?”

Buffy looked panicky. “No! I mean, last time I told her I got locked up!”

He nodded understandingly. “Very well. I’ll go fetch her and send you to Margaret.”

He left the office again, stepping through Frankie’s room, entering the waiting room. “Ms. Summers?”

Joyce rose, clad in an elegant grey pants suit, her short wavy blonde hair seemed to be lit with flames and shine like a halo in the afternoon sun. Marcel looked at the smooth oval face, the large, intelligent beautiful blue-green eyes and the strong, even features. A woman to be reckoned with.  “Dr. Ovrion?” A warm, strong voice. Yes, he could see Simon’s point.

“Yes. Would you step through to the office with me?”

“Certainly.” She followed him, looking composed, but he could see the slight worry in the tension around her eyes and the way she clasped her purse.

Marcel carried one of the chairs from the other side of the room and held it as Joyce sat. “Ms. Summers, I can put your fears at rest. After even a very short evaluation it is clear to me Buffy is suffering from a variant of Loudun syndrome. It is entirely treatable, and in most cases medication is not needed at all. She will be able to lead a normal life after Post traumatic stress treatment, but I would advise monthly sessions for the foreseeable future. I will ask for an extension from the Juvenile court. I have no doubt it will be granted.”

He smiled encouragingly at both women as Joyce sighed in relief. “Thank you. Loudun syndrome, as in The Devils of Loudun?”

Marcel smiled. “Yes indeed.”

Joyce shook herself. “That is the reason I tried to get Buffy treated by you in the first place. I thought it might be; I knew that if you treated her, you could help.”

The doctor looked at her askance. “Really? Not many outside the profession know about it.” He grimaced. “At least not by that name.”

Joyce shrugged, her mouth quirking. “I think they gave it a different name on Dr Phil.” Marcel winced. Joyce quirky mouth turned into a real smile.

“I read about Loudun syndrome in the American Journal of Psychiatry, and then I looked for your work, including your thesis and undergraduate work and the articles in the American Journal of Psychology and it just clicked after talking to Buffy.”

“You read professional journals?” He seemed interested.

“I minored in psychology; I try to keep up to date.”

Buffy spoke, wide eyed. “Whoa! Time out. You minored in psychology?”

Joyce gave her daughter an exasperated look. “Yes dear. All the psychology journals and books in the house might have made that clear.”

“Oh. Yeah. And the weird psychobabble. Umm. Sorry. I just, sort of you know, all the arts books are more prominent and… ummm.”

Joyce reached over and ruffled her hair. Buffy underwent it meekly and Joyce spoke teasingly. “Don’t worry Buffy, developmental psychology shows you are right on schedule with your disinterest in your parents’ lives.”

Buffy stuck out her tongue and could swear that Marcel stifled a snigger. “Well I will feel free to bury you in psychobabble then. I will avoid it around Buffy.” He seemed to wink at her.

Buffy restrained the urge to stick out her tongue at him. There were after all, limits.

Marcel continued in a more serious tone of voice. “There are however some things I feel are necessary.”

Joyce straightened her back. “What? I’ll do anything.”

“Firstly I would like if you could drive Buffy over to see Dr Margaret Lawson over at the Lawson Women’s clinic. She’s a specialist in rape and abuse cases. I feel we need her testimony to properly compose the report. Buffy has already agreed and wants to get it over with and Dr Lawson has agreed to make time for her this afternoon.”

Joyce looked at him shrewdly. “So that is what Margaret does. Very well, if Buffy agrees, we’ll go there this afternoon. I do need to call the babysitter though.”

Buffy sniggered. “I am so going to tell Dawn you called her a baby.”

Joyce gave her eldest daughter a humorous repressive look. “Don’t you dare.”

Marcel gave Joyce a strange look. “You know Margaret?”

Joyce shrugged. “Simon mentioned both of you. I have a good memory for names.”

Marcel nodded, smiling. “Indeed. Well I’d also like you to visit me together with Buffy. You can set an appointment date with Frankie; I’d prefer a date in the very near future, before Buffy and I meet alone again.” He hesitated. “It would be wise to include Buffy’s father as well.”

Joyce nodded thoughtfully, looking at her daughter; then at her own hands, which tightened slightly around each other. “Yes, of course. I will leave Hank’s address and phone number. ”

Marcel nodded. “Good.” He walked over to his desk and fished in a drawer until he came up with a small business card. “This is the address of the Women’s clinic. Do you know how to get there?”

Joyce took the card and read the address. “Yes, yes I do.” She rose and extended a hand to the doctor, who shook it. “Thank you.”

He bowed. “You are welcome.”

Buffy made her own goodbyes; then drew her planner to pick a date for the appointment with Joyce. It was set for two weeks hence, again at the end of the day. They heard Frankie confirm their appointment at the clinic as they left. They walked down to the car in companionable silence.

“He seems like a very nice man.” Joyce said as they drove off towards the Women’s clinic.

“Yes. He was quite upset that my case was not referred to him. I assume whoever sifts through them is going to be in trouble.”

“Good.” Joyce sounded positively vindictive. Buffy stared at her in surprise.

“Mom?”

“We’ll talk about it next time dear. I promise. Dr. Ovrion is right; we should not talk about it without him.”

“Hmm. He’s got a cute accent.”

“Yes.”

“Not as cute as Simon’s” Buffy looked slyly at her mother. “Simon’s butt is better too.”

Joyce blushed. “Buffy! really!”

“Mom, you smiled and laughed more since the day he was there than in the entire time since the divorce. Hell, you smiled and laughed more than in the final year with dad!” Buffy now glared at her mother.

“It’s too soon. And mind your language.”

“Mom, you and dad had nothing left even before I got into trouble. Even I can see that. Hell, even Dawnie knew!”

“Buffy, language!”

“Yeah, yeah. Look the divorce came through months ago, you separated before that, the closest you got to dad in the year before was when you slapped his face when he said he hoped you wouldn’t screw up Dawnie as well as me.”

Joyce’s hands tightened on the steering wheel. “You heard that?” She whispered the words painfully.

“Me and Dawn both. He wasn’t exactly whispering. Damn it Mom! Why do you think we both wanted to go with you? Dad can be insensitive jerk.”

“Buffy, where did you learn to speak like that? And you know your father loves you both. He really does.”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Daytime TV. Mom. And dad may love us, but he sometimes has a weird way of showing it. Dawn and I will not mind you dating Simon. Dawn wants to know if he can come by and help with her homework again. He was good to talk to. We like him Mom. Don’t hold back on our account.”

Joyce’s thumbs ran up and down the wheel. “You only met him once.”

“So, bring him over after or before the date. We can meet him again.”

“He may not be right for me…”

“Mom, hello! Rich dude of New York’s First Families?! Handsome, muscled, kind. Funny. Charming. Likes kids. Are you maybe, like putting the bar a bit too high? And also, you’ve like been staring into the blue with that little smile on your face and I know what that means! You got the shivers for a certain Simon.”

Joyce glared at her daughter. “How did you know about the First Family thing? And the rich? And I do not have the shivers.”

“American history. Willow remembered seeing a photo of a picture of one of his ancestors and we asked mister Giles and he found an actual book about his family. An actual book! And he’s got his own company. Willow found it online. And you do so have the shivers.” Buffy shrugged. Then she hummed the first bars of It’s almost like being in love.

Joyce stared straight ahead, blushing. “I may not be right for him. I mean, rich, handsome, muscled, kind, funny, what would he want with me?”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Jeesh. He asked you. Look just call him, make the date. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”

“And if it does?” Joyce looked at her daughter.

Buffy grinned wickedly. “I’ll use my step-daughterly wiles to get myself a Porsche.”

Joyce laughed despite herself. “Oh, you!”

The rest of the drive was spent talking about what colour the Porsche would have to be. And whether it would have leather upholstery or not. It was going to be red with apple green leather, Buffy decided.
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