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|The Freshman||The Harsh Light of Day|
Buffy’s roommate Kathy is a challenge. She’s an extremely perky person. Buffy loathes Kathy’s taste in music. She keeps playing Cher’s Believe over and over while she irons her jeans. She wants Buffy to log all of her phone calls. She’s also curious about why Buffy spends so many nights out.
Buffy tells Kathy that she’s just a night person, and starts to head out for her evening patrol. She tells Kathy that she’s going for a coffee, and a late night study session at the Grotto.
Kathy stops Buffy before she gets out the door. “I noticed that some of my milk was missing. Did you…”
“Oh! Yeah, actually, I did,” says Buffy. “I meant to—”
“No! It’s totally okay, I was just wondering.”
“Yeah, I was making my coffee and I just—”
“Buffy, it’s fine. I just wanted to make sure…” The song ends, and Kathy goes over to her CD player to restart it before she continues. “…that we didn’t have a thief or something.”
“Like who?” asks Buffy, “Sid the wiley dairy gnome?”
“I don’t know, it’s no big deal,” says Kathy. “Please, feel free.”
Buffy finally manages to make her escape.
Buffy meets up with Willow. They walk together for a while. Willow is on her way to meet with Oz. Buffy tells Willow about her problems with Kathy. Willow isn’t too pleased with her roommate either.
Buffy thinks she hears something lurking in the bushes, but when they stop to listen, they hear nothing. Buffy’s disappointed. She’s in the mood to beat something up. They come to the place where their paths diverge, and Buffy continues on her patrol alone.
A robed demon with glowing green eyes watches Buffy from the bushes.
Buffy is passing through a wooded area of the campus when she hears a noise behind her. She turns around, thinking that it’s Willow coming back, but it’s Kathy. She has decided to come along and join Buffy for that coffee.
“Great!” says Buffy. “That’s just great.”
Buffy hears the growl of the demon as it rushes toward them. She pushes Kathy into the bushes, and spins back around in time to catch the demon’s arm and throw it to the ground. The demon gets back to its feet quickly. They exchange a few punches, and then the demon runs away.
Kathy climbs back to her feet, and comes out of the bushes. “What the blizzard was that all about?”
“Uh, he um…tried to take my backpack,” says Buffy.
“What were you thinking, taking him on like that?” asks Kathy
“Oh I, heh, I don’t know, I guess I-I panicked.”
“I mean, it’s just you could of gotten hurt or something.” Kathy looks down at her mud stained sweater. “God, and look at my sweater! It’s ruined!”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” says Buffy. “Here, we’ll go get you cleaned up.” She and Kathy head back toward their room together.
A pair of green eyed demons watch from the bushes as they go. They speak to each other in their demonic tongue. “She may be the one.” says one of them.
“We have to be sure.” says its companion. “Follow her.”
Buffy stops by at Giles’ next morning. She meets him in the courtyard of his apartment complex just as he returns from his morning jog. Jogging is something she hadn’t known he did. She has picked up his mail on the way in, and is also a little surprised to discover that he subscribes to a motorcycle magazine.
“Congratulations, you’ve found me out,” says Giles. “I’m a mod jogger.”
“Okay, you’re not having one of those mid-life things, are you?” asks Buffy, “’Cause I’m still going ‘ish’ from the last time you tried to recapture your youth.”
Giles thinks that they’ve talked enough about him, and asks what Buffy’s doing there. She tells him about the demon that she encountered the night before. She also tells him that her roommate Kathy was there, but she didn’t see anything.
“You took your roommate patrolling with you?”
“Well I invited the whole dorm, but she was the only one that could make it,” says Buffy. Giles looks at her, waiting for some sort of rational explanation. “I told her I was going for coffee and she decided to tag along.”
“Right,” says Giles. “Well we should discourage her from that habit.” He promises to look into the demon.
Buffy isn’t anxious to leave yet. She doesn’t want to get back to her room at the dorm until Kathy has left for class. Kathy is really getting on her nerves.
Giles thinks that it’s a good thing that Buffy’s an only child. She is going to have to learn to deal with Kathy. “Everybody has their idiosyncrasies. You’d do well to learn to tolerate them.”
“Or I’ll end up an old lady who can only live with cats?” asks Buffy.
“Something like that.”
Kathy tries unsuccessfully to clean the mud out of her sweater. She pauses to fold down the corner of her rug which someone had kicked up.
Kathy gives up on her sweater and starts to search through Buffy’s closet to borrow one of hers. She notices a crossbow sticking out of a half open bag on the floor. She bends down and opens the bag. She sees Buffy’s collection of stakes, crosses and other Slayer supplies. It puzzles her.
Buffy arrives at the cafeteria for lunch. She notices Kathy in the line, so she hides behind her tray, and cuts in front of a guy to avoid her. Parker Abrams isn’t upset. Buffy’s a very cute girl. He knows Buffy’s hiding from someone, and promises to watch her back.
While they go through the cafeteria together Parker watches Buffy’s back, and gives her tips on how to get the most out of her dining hall card. “Work it right and you can get three meals worth, which equals fewer punch cards used annually.”
“And more cash from Dad which you get to keep for yourself,” says Buffy.
“Right!” says Parker. “The goal is to polish off as much as humanly possible at one sitting. Enough to get you through the rest of the day, if necessary, while chipmunking items for future consumption.”
Buffy spots her friends waiting at a table. Parker has his own friends waiting for him at another table, so they separate, after exchanging information on which dorms they are living in.
Buffy joins Willow, Oz and Xander at a lunch table. Xander has dropped by to visit his friends, and mooch off of Willow’s plate. His parents are charging him for food now. Willow is curious about the guy she just saw Buffy with. She thinks he’s cute. Buffy tells her he was just some guy, nothing special.
“It looked like more than that to me,” says Willow. “He got all googly-eyed.”
“That’s because he got hit by the Buffinator,” says Xander, “Now he’s powerless.”
“You think?” asks Buffy.
“No question,” says Oz. “He’ll be back.”
Xander asks if there’s any vamp action going on, and Buffy tells them about the demon she encountered. Xander is anxious to help, but Buffy tells him there’s no need. Xander is disappointed.
Kathy joins them. Buffy notices that Kathy is wearing her sweater. Kathy didn’t think Buffy would mind, since it was Buffy who got her sweater all muddy.
“I was saving you from a—”
Willow cuts Buffy off. “Bear!”
Buffy gives Willow a look. “Mugger.”
“It’s not a problem, is it?” asks Kathy. “I mean, I figured we’re almost like sisters now, living together and everything.”
“No, it’s… it’s fine,” says Buffy. She smiles insincerely. “I just wished you’d asked.”
Kathy proceeds to spill ketchup from her hamburger on Buffy’s sweater.
Buffy phones Willow to complain about Kathy as she’s getting ready to go to bed. Willow tells her she just has to deal with it. She doesn’t have the greatest roommate either. Willow’s roommate is throwing a party at the time.
Kathy returns so Buffy hangs up. She reminds Buffy to log her phone call.
Kathy sits on her bed and starts flossing her teeth, much to Buffy’s annoyance. Buffy goes to put an apple into their fridge, and discovers that it’s full of stuff already. Kathy has labeled it all with her name, including a dozen individually labeled eggs.
While Buffy is finding room to fit her apple in the fridge, Kathy closes their room’s window. Buffy opens the window again, and gets into bed.
Kathy picks up her book off the table between their beds and discovers that she had put it down on top of a wad of gum. “Who left their gum here?”
“Gum gnome?” asks Buffy.
“It wasn’t me!” says Kathy. “It had to be somebody, Buffy!”
Buffy swallows the gum she’s chewing. “I don’t know.”
Buffy goes to sleep. While she sleeps she dreams. One of the green eyed demons is holding her down, pouring blood down her throat, putting scorpions on her stomach, and sucking some mist out through her mouth.
Buffy starts awake.
Kathy is sitting in her bed, looking at Buffy. “Do you always make that noise when you sleep?”
Buffy sits with Giles, Willow and Oz in the lounge area of the dorm. She’s telling them about her dream. “And the worst part? I wake up and there’s Kathy, staring at me like I’m some kind of freak.”
“Well, actually, the worst part, I’d have to go with the demon poring the blood down your throat,” says Oz.
“Me too,” says Willow, “I would vote for that too.”
“But that’s just a dream, and this Kathy thing is real,” says Buffy. “All she cared about was that her precious sleep had been disturbed.”
Kathy approaches them. She overhears the tail end of Giles talking about analysing Buffy’s dream, and joins in. She had a really weird dream the night before too. “There was like, this monster, and he sat on me and did all this stuff to me.”
“Stuff like scorpions, and Bloody Mary minus the Mary?” asks Oz.
“That’s it!” says Kathy. “How’d you know?”
“Well, I’m a good guesser.”
Buffy has stopped trying to hide how annoyed she’s getting with Kathy. She rather pointedly suggests that Kathy has some classes to get to. Kathy takes the hint, and goes.
“You know what this means,” says Giles.
“Yes,” says Buffy. “Not only does she take my sweater, but now she has to horn in on my dreams. She is the most ever mooch— Oh, I haven’t even gotten to the floss!”
Giles asks Buffy to focus on the matter at hand. Her and Kathy having the same nightmares means that something probably happened to them when they encountered the demon in the woods. They need to find out if the ritual they are dreaming about has any special significance.
Buffy has a class to get to so she departs, leaving Giles and the others to see if they can figure out what her dream might mean.
Buffy’s friends are starting to get concerned about her behaviour. “Okay, so that was the evil twin, right?” asks Willow, “’Cause she was bordering on Cordeliaesque.”
Giles suspects that both Buffy and Kathy have been affected by the demon they encountered the other night in some way beyond their shared dream. He asks Willow and Oz to keep an eye on Buffy while he goes to do research.
The two demons meet by a bonfire in a clearing in a secluded area of the woods. They have decided that they have indeed found the girl they are looking for. It is time for them to summon the great one, Taparrich.
Buffy returns to her room that evening to find that Kathy is playing Believe yet again.
Parker is there too. He had dropped by to see Buffy and deliver some freezer bags to aid her in collecting cafeteria food. He and Kathy really seem to have hit it off. It turns out that they are both hockey fans.
Buffy tells Parker that he has to go, she has a lot of work to do. She opens the window, turns off Kathy’s CD player, and then sees Parker out. She tells him she’s sorry, and that maybe they can get together some other time. That sounds good to Parker.
Kathy thinks that Buffy rushed Parker out awfully abruptly. She wasn’t trying to move in on Buffy’s territory, or anything like that. She closes the window, and starts flossing her teeth.
Buffy puts a lock on her closet door, and opens the window again.
“I’m cold!” says Kathy.
“Well I’m hot,” says Buffy. “Deal with it.”
“Do you know what your problem is, Buffy?”
“Hardly,” says Kathy. “Your problem is you’re spoiled. Maybe the world revolved around you where you used to live, but it’s share time now.”
“Share time, huh?” asks Buffy. “Fine! I’ll show you share time.”
Buffy goes to the fridge and gets out Kathy’s carton of milk. She starts drinking straight from the carton, spilling milk all down her front, and onto the floor.
Willow tells Oz she’s worried about Buffy. She is acting very not herself. Willow thinks she should keep an eye on her, and do the best friend talking and listening thing, but she can’t. She has an English paper to finish.
Oz volunteers to join Buffy for that evening’s patrol and keep any eye on her. “I’m not saying we’ll braid each others hair—probably—but I can hang with her, watch for signs she’s going over the edge.”
Willow tells Oz he’s the best, and where he can find Buffy. She starts into her room, but her roommate has got another party going (or maybe it is still the same one.) She tells Oz that if he needs her, he can find her at the library.
Oz passes a blonde girl walking the other way with some of her friends. The two of them catch each other’s eye, they both look back over their shoulders at each other as they continue down the path. Oz doesn’t notice that the UCSunnydale Commando Squad is lurking in the bushes.
Oz and Buffy patrol together. She’s complaining about Kathy to him. “…so then Kathy’s like, ‘It’s share time.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh yeah? Share this!’” She punches at the air.
“So, either you hit her, or you did your wacky mime routine for her,” says Oz.
“Well, I didn’t do either, actually,” says Buffy, “But she deserves it, don’t you think?”
“Nobody deserves mime, Buffy.”
“Kathy does,” says Buffy. “She deserves to be locked in an invisible box and blown away by an imaginary wind and…and…”
“Forced to wear a binding unitard?” asks Oz.
“Yeah, the itchy kind,” says Buffy. “It’s perfect.”
“Just here to help.”
Buffy appreciates that, but she’s a little suspicious. Oz has never come along on a routine patrol before. Oz tells her that it was either this or homework. Buffy doesn’t dwell on it. She’s more interested in complaining about Kathy. As she talks about her, Buffy gets more and more upset.
“Just a thought, Buffy,” says Oz, “but do you think all this ranting is scaring away potential demons?”
“You’re right,” says Buffy. “Ooh! She’s even affecting my work, now. She’s the Titanic. She’s a crawling black cancer.” Buffy kicks a bench into splinters. “She’s…other really bad things.”
“On the plus side you killed the bench,” says Oz, “which was looking shifty.”
“This isn’t funny Oz,” says Buffy. “Something has to be done.” She turns and walks quickly away down the path.
Oz watches Buffy go for a couple of seconds before following her. “Agreed.”
Buffy tries to study while Kathy sits on her bed and trims her toenails. This is really annoying Buffy, who can hear each toenail as it spins through the air, and as it lands on the floor. She starts drumming her pencil on her book, to drown out the noise.
Buffy’s pencil tapping seems to have the same effect on Kathy. She starts playing her Cher CD again.
Buffy drums her pencil harder, until it breaks, and then tries to block out the sound by putting on some earmuffs. They are ineffective.
Kathy goes to the fridge and gets out one of her hard boiled eggs. The sound of her peeling it annoys Buffy even more. Buffy finally gets fed up, and announces that she’s going to bed.
Buffy has the dream again. She wakes up suddenly. Kathy is still asleep. She is tossing and moaning in her sleep. She suddenly starts awake, and then lies back in her bed.
“I do what I can, but Buffy’s difficult.” Kathy complains to Willow. “She’s secretive for one thing. She comes in at all hours of the night. She leaves her gum all over the place.”
Willow thinks that Kathy should be talking to Buffy about this, not her.
“I would,” says Kathy, “but she is so touchy about all kinds of weird stuff. I mean sometimes I get the feeling that she is not quite normal. You know?”
Buffy spots them, and Kathy leaves. Buffy is not happy that Willow is talking with Kathy. Willow tells her that she was just saying “Hi.”
“Yeah, that’s what she wants you to think,” says Buffy.
“Buffy. This has to stop,” says Willow. “I mean, I get it. I have a sucky roomie too. You just have to deal.”
“You’re right,” says Buffy. “I’ve been thinking a lot about this and it’s clear to me now.”
“Good, that’s better,” says Willow.
“Kathy’s evil,” says Buffy. “I’m an evil fighter. It’s simple. I’m going to have to kill her.”
“You have to kill her?” asks Willow. “Don’t you think you could just switch rooms, or something?”
“I would, but it’s not just me in danger from Kathy. Look.” Buffy holds up a plastic bag with Kathy’s toenails in it, which she had collected off the floor when Kathy went to the bathroom.
“Good thinking,” says Willow, “’cause in the middle of the night those toenails could have attacked you and left little half-moon marks all over your body.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” says Buffy. “The point is I measured them before I fell asleep and again this morning, and they grew. After they were cut! That’s a demon thing! She has to be eliminated.”
Willow suggests that Buffy take the toenails to Giles, to make sure, before she does anything too drastic.
“Absolutely,” says Buffy. “I don’t want to do anything crazy.”
Willow promises to keep an eye on Kathy while Buffy’s gone. As soon as Buffy is out of sight Willow goes to a pay phone and calls Giles. “I just talked to Buffy, and I think she’s feeling a little insane. … No, not bitchy crazy, more like homicidal maniac crazy. So I told her to come see you, ’kay?”
Buffy arrives at Giles’ but there doesn’t seem to be anyone home. While she looks around a net drops on her from the loft, and Giles, Xander and Oz rush her and start to tie her up.
“What are you guys doing?” asks Buffy. “This is— this is ridiculous!”
“Buffy, this hurts me more than it hurts you,” says Xander.
“Not yet, but it will!”
“Don’t say that,” says Xander, then he realizes what she just said. “Oh, please don’t say that.”
Buffy tells them about the toenails. Kathy has parts that keep growing even after they are detached. She irons her jeans! She listens to Light FM all day! Nothing but love songs! She must be evil!
Giles suspects that Buffy has become possessed by the demon she fought in the woods. He knows a spell to make the demon reveal itself, but he has to pick up some supplies at the magic shop. He goes, taking the toenails with him, leaving Xander and Oz to watch Buffy.
Willow visits Kathy in her room. She suggests that it might be a good idea if Kathy isn’t there when Buffy gets back.
Kathy doesn’t want to go. “It’s not fair, having to live with someone who’s obviously troubled. Someone who so clearly needs to be in a home, not in a dorm. I wouldn’t put it past her to drop out, or take off or something. Do something horrible to herself.”
“Herself?” asks Willow.
“Or worse,” says Kathy. “She’s capable of it, you know? You can see it in those shifty little eyes of hers. One of these days she might even push somebody too far.”
The phone rings, and Kathy answers it. It’s Oz calling for Willow. He tells Willow that they’ve captured Buffy. Willow tells Kathy that she should just stay in the room, and goes.
Xander and Oz watch Buffy struggle against her bonds. Xander begins to suspect that maybe he didn’t tie the ropes tightly enough. Oz suggests that maybe they should check them. Xander doesn’t like that idea. They will have to get inside Buffy’s range to do that, and they haven’t tied her feet.
Oz and Xander cautiously approach Buffy. As soon as they are close enough Buffy reaches out, grabs their heads and bashes them together. They both fall unconscious to the floor.
Buffy drops the ropes on top of Xander. “Nope. Not tight enough!”
Buffy returns to her room. Kathy is sitting on her bed reading. It is time for them to talk. Kathy gets out of her bed and stands before her.
Buffy kicks up the corner of Kathy’s rug. “Oops. Look what I did.”
Kathy backhands Buffy across the face. “Oh. Look what I did.”
Buffy and Kathy grab each other by the hair and start tugging. Kathy’s face comes off in Buffy’s hands, revealing that she’s one of the demons with the glowing green eyes.
“I knew it!” shouts Buffy in triumph.
Kathy tackles her.
The two demons in the woods finish summoning Taparrich. He wants them to take him to the girl.
Kathy pins Buffy to the floor and sits on her. Kathy still needs to complete her ritual. Buffy realizes that her dreams were real.
Giles reads about the ritual of the Mok’tagar. It’s the ritual that Buffy has been dreaming about. The Mok’tagar can always recognise their own kind—no matter what guise they may have assumed—by their lack of a soul.
Kathy explains to Buffy that she left her home dimension to go to college, but they sent some guys to bring her back, so she’s borrowing Buffy’s soul so that when they come to get her, they will take Buffy instead.
“Thank God I won’t have to watch you floss anymore!” says Buffy.
“And I won’t have to live with a slob!” says Kathy. She tries to force Buffy’s mouth open.
Buffy bites Kathy’s hand, and throws Kathy off her. They both spring to their feet. Buffy charges at Kathy and gets thrown across her bed. Buffy kicks Kathy away, and attacks again.
Kathy throws Buffy through the door of her closet. “It’s share time Buffy!” She grabs Buffy by the feet and drags her out again.
“Fine! Then let’s start with my sweater!” Buffy wraps the sweater she’d grabbed while in the closet around Kathy’s neck, and tries to strangle her with it.
Kathy grabs the sweater and rips it apart.
Oz and Xander wake up. “Oow,” says Xander. “Why couldn’t Giles have shackles like any self respecting bachelor?”
Willow comes into Giles’ apartment. “Guys, I just saw Kathy and she’s acting…” She sees Xander and Oz on the floor. “Oh my god, are you okay?” She helps Oz get to his feet.
“Yeah,” says Oz, “Buffy’s got a pretty good lead on us, though.”
Willow goes to Giles’ phone. “I’ll call Kathy, tell her to get out of there.”
Kathy is beating Buffy with the phone. “All you had to do was write … down … your … calls!”
Willow hangs up the phone, and tells Xander and Oz she got no answer.
Giles arrives with the news that Buffy was right about the toenails. They are still growing, and they even regenerate if destroyed. He looks around. “So, where is Buffy?”
Xander shows Giles the ropes.
“Oh dear, we have even less time than I feared.” Giles goes into his kitchen and starts gathering things. “I’ve looked up all known regenerating demons. Only one species practices the ritual Buffy’s been seeing in her sleep. It’s used to steal the soul from a human body.”
“Wait,” says Xander, “are you saying that Buffy’s been doing a Linda Blair on us because Kathy’s been sucking her soul?”
Giles puts his supplies onto his desk. “I believe so, yes.”
“So Buffy was right all along,” says Willow. “Later on, big remorse.”
Giles tells them that he knows a ritual to reverse the spell that Kathy has been using on Buffy. He and Willow can perform it.
“Leaving Xander and me to help Buffy in the flesh,” says Oz. They run out of the apartment.
Kathy bounces Buffy off their door hard enough to shake loose the room number on the outside of it. The noise is starting to annoy their neighbour. He’s trying to study.
Kathy tosses Buffy against the window. It shatters, and Buffy almost goes out it. Kathy grabs her and pulls her back into the room. “Window’s open! Happy?” She throws Buffy down onto the floor.
Kathy pins Buffy to the floor. “Open up! Let me finish!” She forces Buffy’s mouth open.
Giles completes his spell:
“Let it be finished.
Let the unnatural vessel be emptied.
Let the essence be returned to it’s original host.”
Mist flows from Kathy’s mouth back into Buffy’s. Kathy falls back away from her onto the floor. “How did you do…?”
There’s a brilliant flash, and Taparrich appears out of a vortex of light. He looks down at Kathy. “There you are. Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in young lady?”
“I’m not going back!” says Kathy.
“Don’t take that tone with me.” says Taparrich.
“I’m three thousand years old!” whines Kathy. “When are you going to stop treating me like I’m nine hundred?”
Oz and Xander burst into the room. Taparrich turns and growls at them. They back off.
Taparrich turns back to Kathy. “Enough. You’re coming home.”
Taparrich gestures, and a vortex appears in the floor of the room between the two beds. Buffy crawls away as Kathy is sucked into it. Taparrich jumps in after her, and the vortex closes.
Buffy’s new roommate Willow hangs a Dingos Ate My Baby poster on the wall where Kathy’s Celine Dion poster had been. Buffy is standing back, giving directions to make sure it is properly aligned. Buffy eats a sandwich while she helps Willow unpack, and a Dingos CD plays.
Willow finishes hanging her poster. “About that—the Kathy thing?—I’m sorry I doubted you.”
“You’re completely forgiven,” says Buffy. “I mean, you had reason to doubt. Except for the soul sucking thing I bet Kathy was pretty regular, as far as roomies go.”
“That’s a pretty big ‘except.’” says Willow.
“I guess. I’m just glad that it was Kathy’s demon-y ways making me no-fun Buffy. I’ve always thought I was pretty easy going, you know? It’s not like I have the big issues. You know, burn incense, or…”
Willow picks up the uneaten half of Buffy’s sandwich. “Are you going to finish this?” She bites into it.
Buffy’s eyes narrow in annoyance.