Introducing Laura Clark
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Summary: Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia have a lingering problem left over from Halloween.
AN – Thoughts are between asterisks. (i.e. *Thought.*)
The three adults entered Jenny’s bedroom.
However, instead of seeing three young women as she was expecting, Joyce only saw one.
“What’s going on? I thought you said Buffy was here with Willow and Cordelia.”
“They are,” stated Giles.
Before Joyce could object to that statement, he continued, “They were dressed as Triplicate Girl of the Legion of Superheroes. Because, Cordelia was seriously injured, Buffy and Willow merged with her to try and save her life. Thus they were in one body when the spell ended. They were disoriented and made their way to Cordelia’s where they fell into a healing sleep. The next morning the merged person came to see me and told me what happened.”
“Why would she come to you?” asked Joyce, interrupting him.
“We can get into that later,” he said. “As it was, they couldn’t split apart for more than a few seconds. The Carggite ability to merge the memories of the separated bodies upon merging was attempting to do the same for the 16 plus years of the girls’ memories. Because of the chaotic nature of the magic that affected them, I couldn’t safely halt the process and could only try and arrange for their own personalities to be associated with their own bodies when they split. We’ve been waiting for the memory merge to complete to see if I was successful but it’s possible my interference is causing some unknown complications as our monitoring of the merge says it has completed.”
Joyce looked at the two school employees with total disbelief.
Seeing that she is still very skeptical, Jenny said, “Mrs. Summers, would you please face the bed and close your eyes?”
“Because I want you to picture your daughters face and then quickly look at the girl on the bed,” explained Jenny.
Still off balance from everything going on, Joyce did as the young teacher bid.
After she had complied with the request, she said, “I’ll admit there are some things in common but that doesn’t prove anything.”
“Now do the same thing picturing Willow’s face,” insisted Jenny.
Joyce was silent after following the instruction.
“Do you think you could do the same with Cordelia’s face?” asked Jenny.
“I . . . I can try,” said Joyce as the young woman had visited her gallery with her mother on a few occasions.
Joyce was completely at a loss for words. Even an art major knew the odds of someone having similar features of three different people who weren’t related to them or each other were exceedingly slim.
“Buffy fights vampires, doesn’t she?” Joyce finally asked in a low voice.
“Erm . . eh . . yes,” Giles stuttered out.
“Oh god!” wailed Joyce as she sunk to her knees. “She was telling the truth! She was telling the truth and we had her locked up for it! We allowed her to be restrained and drugged for telling the truth! How in the world could she not hate us for that?”
Both Giles and Jenny were initially at a loss as to Joyce’s outburst, though they both quickly deduced that apparently Buffy had once tried to tell her parents about her Calling and had been locked up for it. Since restraints and drugs were mentioned, that logically meant a sanitarium of some sort.
*It must have happened before The Council became aware of Merrick’s death,* thought Giles. *Surveillance was resumed shortly after Joyce filed for divorce and Buffy was with her then.*
Jenny rushed to the distraught woman, even though she wasn’t sure how she would calm and comfort her. She settled for just holding on to her.
Xander had come to the door when he heard Joyce’s outburst though he didn’t really hear what she said. All he knew was she was on her knees and Ms. Calendar was holding on to her.
“What happened?” he whispered as he stepped next to Giles.
“She believes,” stated Giles glumly. “She believes and is frightened by that belief.”
Just then a voice comes from the bed, “Your daughter doesn’t hate you, Mrs. Summers. She was a bit disappointed you didn’t believe her but she doesn’t hate you. She knows you acted out of love.”
The other four occupants of the room looked at the young woman sitting up on the bed.
“Buffy?” croaked out Joyce.
“Is here with me,” said the young woman. “As are Willow and Cordelia.”
“Luornu?” asked Giles.
“Yes, Mr. Giles,” she responded. “Though to avoid possibly drawing attention to myself by fan boys, I believe I will have to use an alias that fits better with this century. Laura Clark would be fitting I think.”
“You said Buffy, Willow and Cordelia are with you. Does that mean the spell to keep them separate worked?” asked Giles.
“We believe it did and after I explain some things, I’ll split and we’ll have definite proof,” said the newly named Laura Clark. “Firstly I want to explain why I am the spokes person for the gestalt. We have determined that I am not just a copy of Luornu Durgo’s memories but am a fully sentient person in my own right. To deny me existence would be tantamount to killing me and none of us wanted that. Therefore, when ever we are joined, be it just two or all three of us, I will be in the forefront. Also, despite each of them having my memories, my mind is the only one comfortable with coordinating multiple lines of thought. Over time they will gain that ability and could be allowed to be in the forefront for specific reasons but not right now. What Cordelia told you earlier about her being in control was true in that she was the center of the merge and my mind was too busy dealing with the blending of our minds to deal with anything else.”
“Another reason I am ‘in charge’ so to speak is that due to your efforts to keep their minds separate, I was not able to fully resolve conflicts that knowing each others’ thoughts has brought to light. Now I am not going to tell you what those conflicts are because that is their decision to make, not mine. I’m only telling you this because there will be tension between them when they are themselves. And it won’t be between just Willow and Cordelia but Willow and Buffy have issues to iron out as well. The issues that Buffy and Cordelia have are minor compared to the other pairings.”
The others looked puzzled by that. All of them would have thought Willow and Buffy would have the least potential for conflicts.
Giles spoke up, “Before you split, do you know if you have Buffy’s Slayer powers?”
“I don’t know about the strength, reflexes or speed but I do know that my eyesight and sense of smell are more heightened that normal for me,” she replied. “However, I believe we can check that out more thoroughly after we make sure Buffy, Willow and Cordelia are mostly themselves when I split.”
Jenny had helped Joyce to her feet during the conversation and said, “Let me get your costume for you. At the moment, it is the only garment we know that can split and merge with you. Giles, you and Xander should wait outside while she changes.”
Both Giles and Xander just nodded and left the bedroom.
Once they were gone, Laura moved from under the covers to reveal her attire.
“Was it really necessary to put a diaper on me?” she asked Jenny as she made her way to the bathroom.
“We weren’t sure how long you would be out and those are easier to clean up after than entire bed sets,” replied Jenny. “Especially on my own.”
“As the girls would say, ‘Point’,” Laura said.
It didn’t take long to change back into her uniform. The three women went out to the living room where the men waited.
“Now, while I believe the personalities will separate along with the bodies, because they will have a complete set of everyone’s memories, along with the initial fusion of about five years worth of those personalities, there may be some slight bleed over,” Laura warned them. “Also, after I split, the girls should go to their own homes for some time away from each other. As I said there are issues they need to come to grips with and it will be best to give them some clear thought before trying to resolve them. Let them come to you for help if they think they need it.”
Having said that, her figure blurred and there were now three figures standing there instead of one.