Best Comedy - "Therapy Sessions"
Best Gen Fic - "Therapy Sessions"
Summary: After too many break-ups and apocalypses to count, a member of the Scooby Gang finally gets some professional help.
Characters: Anya, OC
Spoilers: "Selfless" and "Sleeper" BtVS Season 7.
Type: Fic, +1000 words
Disclaimer: No claim of ownership of these characters is made and no infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Feedback is always appreciated! It motivates writers to keep on going.
“Fine, Dr. Raeburn. Just dandy. Peachy keen, even.” Anya paused for a moment, her mouth tightening into an uncomfortable smile. “Except I’m unemployed, my ex-fiance is still ex-ed, all my old friends are trying to kill me because I quit my job, my apartment is trashed because said friends keep breaking in and trying to axe murder me, my friend Hallie is – Hallie…”
“Anya?” Dr. Raeburn prodded her gently. Anya looked away for a moment, staring at the small box of sand on the coffee table in front of her. She reached forward and fiddled with the tiny rake before sighing quietly.
“Now I’m crashing on my 'friend' Buffy’s couch." Anya raised both hands to air quote before continuing. "Oh, who also tried to kill me a few weeks ago. Which she feels bad about and I understand that she was doing her job, but getting stabbed in the chest isn’t the best form of conflict resolution.” Anya bit her lip and looked at the doctor expectantly.
“That’s right, Anya. It’s important to work out your anger through healthier, non-violent means.” The woman jotted quickly in her notepad. “Is there anything else that’s been on your mind that you’d like to talk about today?”
“Oh! And my other friend, Spike… well, he’s not even a 'friend'." Anya rolled her eyes as she unconsciously raised her hands to air quote again. "I know him but we’re not that close. We had sex that one time. Technically two times. Vampires have excellent stamina and a low refractory period. They’re also extremely talented at giving oral pleasure. The whole not having to breath thing leads to the most incredible or – "
“Anya!" The therapist huffed out a breath then blinked a few times before continuing. “Let’s go back to what’s really concerning you. What happened with your, er, acquaintance that upset you?”
“Well, his chip stopped working.”
“Yes, his chip that the government put in his head to keep him from killing people and drinking their blood.”
“The government put a chip in your frie-, uh, Spike’s head?” The therapist’s eyes widened before she started blinking rapidly as she wrote in her notepad.
“Yes, except it stopped working because the ultimate evil in the world brainwashed him into killing people and turning them into vampires.” Anya leaned back onto the couch and crossed her arms over her chest.
“Vampires? So there’s more than one now.” Dr. Raeburn paused in her notetaking to adjust her glasses, her eyes widening slightly.
“Yes, vampires. Plural.” Anya waved her right hand. “Especially on the Hellmouth.”
“Hmm, I see.” The doctor’s pen flew across the notepad resting in her lap. A few moments passed before Dr. Raeburn looked up at Anya. “You were saying about Spike?”
“Well, we’re talking serious killing spree here. Not just the people Spike ate but the ones he turned into vampires. They went off and turned more people. And then those people went off and turned more people. It’s like a death toll investment with an excellent interest rate. Or one of those freaky pyramid schemes. Except they actually work in the demon world. Which makes sense since a demon invented them in the first place. Humans should really stick to the vastly superior system of capitalism which rewards individual initiative through competition in a free market.”
“So you’re upset that Spike has been going around…killing people?” The doctor squinted as she tilted her head forward slightly.
“Well, not exactly.” Anya frowned and reached forward to comb the miniature wooden rake through the box of sand in front of her. A minute passed in silence before Anya looked up. “It’s just…well, killing people is wrong. I know it’s wrong. People keep telling me it’s wrong. A lot. But then Spike comes around and he’s out there. Ya know, killing.” Anya stabbed the air with an imaginary knife in her clenched fist. “And there’s no consequences. No one’s even mad at him. It’s all ‘oh Spike’s being used by the First’, ‘he has a soul now’, and ‘we need to help him’. Does Spike get stabbed in the chest with a sword? No! It’s hypocritical and very un-American." Anya scoffed frustratedly as she recrossed her arms over her chest.
“So you’re upset that no one is holding Spike accountable for his actions?” Dr. Raeburn prompted Anya to continue.
“Well, it’s not like a sword to the chest would even kill him. It just seems like the only thing to do if we’re going to live in a free and democratic society. Fair’s fair.” Anya licked her lips and looked down at her hands, forcibly relaxing her death-grip on the floral print fabric of her skirt.
“It sounds like your friends have forgiven Spike.”
Anya rolled her eyes, shaking her head slightly. “Well, Buffy has. And that means that everyone has to do what she says whether we agree with her or not. She’s all ‘Spike had no free will, we should give him a chance and blah blah it’s what we do when our friends are in trouble’, but does she care that he could go crazy and kill us all? Does she?” Anya’s eyes sparked as she slashed her hand through the air.
“Do you think Spike should be forgiven, Anya?” The doctor spoke softly.
Anya stared down at a worn spot in the industrial fiber carpet, absently noting how the frayed ends interrupted the geometric pattern of the weave. She looked up, attempting to make eye contact with Dr. Raeburn only to find her gaze drawn to the paintings and placards hanging on the office walls. One was a peaceful landscape portrait of the countryside during spring, the sun shining down from a brilliant blue sky on a meadow full of wildflowers. On the wall behind Dr. Raeburn hung a medical degree from Harvard and Anya wondered idly why a doctor who graduated from Harvard would work in Sunnydale of all places. Beneath the framed degree was a faded cross stitch of an old cliché. Anya resisted the urge to roll her eyes again. She and Hallie used to laugh at the naïve phrase whenever they met up to gossip about work. It had seemed so ludicrous at the time. Only a human could think of something so…human. And Hallie would snicker and – Hallie. Oh, Hallie.
“Anya?” Dr. Raeburn spoke her name gently.
Anya sighed as she stared at the faded cross stitch, the letters blurring out of focus as her throat tightened.
Anya took a deep breath, her lip quivering as she exhaled. She returned her gaze to Dr. Raeburn, blinking slowly before answering in a dull whisper. “Forgiveness makes us human.”