: The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to J. Whedon, etc. The characters of MASH belong to L. Gelbart, etc. All are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.Notes/Warnings
: Set during the time between the movies and series when Buffy was in the asylum.To Not Believe
Buffy sat on her bed and stared at the wall. The drugs they'd given her had worn off already, thankfully. She didn't like the way they made her feel and was really starting to hate needles.
Since the doctor decided she was just delusional - she mentally snorted at that - she hadn't been put into a private room, but instead into a teen ward. She didn't belong here and the others knew it.
Apparently crazy knew crazy and she wasn't it.
Not that the doctors cared.
Apparently crazy also knew about the things that go bump in the night.
Leaning against the wall behind her bed, she watched as a familiar figure appeared in the doorway. She did her best to hide her surprise. If she acted like she was drugged, they didn't shoot her up as frequently. It was part of the game she played with them.
She watched as the familiar figure approached, an unfamiliar one behind her.
"Cousin Erin," Buffy greeted, her voice sounding tired and flat even to her own ears.
"Hey Buffy," her mother's cousin offered, standing beside the bed. "How are you feeling today?"
Buffy stared at her and blinked wondering at her intelligent surgeon cousin ask such an inane question.
Erin blushed and looked down, shuffling her feet. "Yeah, stupid question," she muttered, smiling at the younger woman.
Buffy could only smile faintly in return.
Clearing her throat, Erin glanced back at the older man behind her. If she had to guess, Buffy suspected he was about her grandfather's age. "This is Dr. Sidney Freedman."
"Retired," the man inserted, holding out his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you Buffy."
She looked at his hand before taking it in her own and giving it a weak shake.
Buffy caught the helpless look Erin shot at the man and Sidney took over. "How would you like to go for a walk outside?" he asked moving forward.
With a shrug, Buffy slipped off the bed and into her slippers. Her smile reached her eyes as he offered her his arm.
The trio headed outside into the sunshine.
Exerting herself to make small-talk, Buffy asked about Erin's husband and children as well as her father. She'd always liked Uncle BJ.
After being outside a while, Erin's phone rang and she wandered off to answer it.
Settling on a bench, Buffy looked out over the lawn. "So what's your diagnosis, Doctor?" she asked.
"What makes you think I was diagnosing you?"
Buffy slid her eyes to the side to see his face, "Aside from the fact you're a retired psychiatrist who's been doing this longer than Cousin Erin's been alive?"
Sidney chuckled at the observant girl. He shouldn't have expected anything different from this family. Leaning forward, he rested his elbows on his knees. "I don't think you're crazy," he stated, turning to face her. Knowing he had her attention, even if she wasn't looking at him, he shared a bit of his past with her. “I was in Korea with your Great-Uncle BJ and some of his friends. War, or police actions, are... foreign to most of us. They show us things we never wanted to see and cause us to do things we never thought we could – both good and bad. But when they, when we came home... people couldn't understand what we'd seen, what we'd done. The people here didn't want to believe that war changed their son, husband, lover or father. And many of the returning solders didn't want to believe they'd changed either. Do I think you're crazy? No, I know you're not. But you've been to war and tried to come home, tried to share your experiences, tried to show the others how you've changed, how it changed you.” He waited until she met his eyes before continuing, “But sometimes, Buffy, people need to not believe."
Buffy knew there was more behind the words than what he said, but before she could ask, Erin appeared at her elbow and the moment passed.
Later that night, when things had gotten as quiet as they ever did at the Sanitarium, Buffy thought over Dr. Freedman's words.
The more she thought about them and the reactions of those around her, she began to understand what he was saying - what Merrick had told her. Some people, most people, can't handle the truth that monsters are real. Despite her need for someone to believe in her story, to believe that he monsters she fought were real, the rest of the world needed to not believe in them.
In order to get out, she would have to convince them she didn't believe either.
Tension left her shoulders as relief flooded her. She finally felt like she could sleep. She had a plan. Now she just had to make it work - make sure the doctors could not believe.