15295/Summer Dreaming

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Summer Dreaming
Date of Scene: 05 July 2023
Location: Harry Dresden's Office, Kingston Falls
Synopsis: Buffy comes to Harry's office to talk about her dream and finds Molly instead. Memories are probed, discoveries made.
Cast of Characters: Molly Carpenter, Buffy Summers

Molly Carpenter has posed:
"/This/ one is from two years ago! How have I not filed this yet?"

Though Molly's voice can only barely be heard as a muffled sound through the door, Mouse can hear her loud and clear, and he gives her a sympathetic chuff from his position on the floor. He seemed perfectly content just to lay on the rug and watch her filing a stack of paperwork behind the desk.. until his head suddenly lifted and looked at the door.

Then here came a knock.

"ONE SEC!.. /January/ of 2029. Seriously. And was /still/ sitting here."

The filing cabinet slams, and the sounds of footfalls can be heard getting closer. Mid-morning, Molly didn't have the wards up. There were too many people that dropped by in the middle of the day. And some of them (like a particular OTHER slayer) just waltz right in. Though, in fairness, the door /does/ advertise a business.

So, a moment later, the door opens and standing there is a lanky, six-foot-tall twenty-year-old with a ombre bob cut, dark roots, white shafts, and hot pink tips. Though Buffy had dated Thomas for about two years and the two definitely knew of each other, Buffy had met Molly only one significant time before. Of course, Buffy was having some kind of memory issues.. so, did that mean that meeting Molly was fresher in her memory than it was for Molly? Or did Buffy not remember her at all? This whole situation is weird.

"Buffy! Hey."

She steps back and pulls the door open wider.

"I've been meaning to come find you."
Buffy Summers has posed:
"Really?" asked the petite blonde at the door. For Molly was much taller as Buffy only stood at 5'3". Not that it mattered, just meant that Buffy had to tilt her head back a little to focus on Molly's face when she smiled to the woman. "Then guess this is kismet or fate or one of those other used so much they are now cliche words."

She grinned as she stepped inside once she was given the opportunity. "Good to see you again, Molly. Feels like it's been a forever." Which in truth, it had been. Years in fact, memory loss or no. The good news is Molly fell in the 'remembered' column. She'd remembered Harry and the first meeting with Harry had been the first meeting with Molly.

"I was actually looking for Harry." And she looked around, not spying the wizard in question, so turned back to Molly. "I had a dream involving..."

And she stopped in that turn, staring at Mouse. "Him." She pointed at the dog then looked at Molly. "Tag had Harry's name on it so figured it was like one of those cryptic dreams and Harry was just being represented by the dog but now I'm rethinking that instead of him being a dog..." Wait, that didn't come our right. "Not that Harry's a dog! Being a dog in my dream. Well looking like...Oh nevermind, you get it right? Figured I should come ask him why he was in my dream. But now I'm going to ask why his dog is in my dream?"
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Said fluffy Tibetan Mastiff hefts his big frame off of the floor, and by the time Buffy's pointing, he's already half-way to her. The rest of the distance is closed in just a few click-clacks of nails on floor before Buffy is greeted with a giant fuzzy face lifting happily towards her petite frame. His back only came up to about Molly's waist, but on Buffy? Well.. he's a big dog.

"You, too. I've been.. kind of worried, recently." Molly closes the door behind her again, leaving it unlocked, and gestures towards a big metal pitcher on the counter. "Want any coffee?"

Looking for Harry. "Oh, he and I have been missing each other, but I think he's out working on something." Beat. "At least.. I don't think he's in there asleep. To be honest, I haven't checked." Now she kind of hoped he was alone in there, if he was.

"Mouse! /What/ are you doing at night?!"

Mouse chuffs.

"So.. /I/ had a dream about Mouse, too. And so did Willow." She pauses. "Actually, I'm not sure that's not what Harry is out working on. Was yours about a village and some goats and some /really/ creepy black shapes with red eyes?"
Buffy Summers has posed:
"His name is Mouse?" And there is a slight squeak to the last word as she eyes the dog that likely weighs as much as she does. Maybe more. She isn't planned on testing it. Though she does offer a hand for sniffing to be sure he was good with it before attempting to give a head scritch to the canine.

"Yeah, the Mothman. Well, that's what I thought it was at first. If you've seen pictures, you know. But then it turned out to be two and they came closer. Then Mouse here scared them off before they could get close enough for a fight." Because she had been ready for just that. She looked to Molly curiously. "We all had the same dream? That's never good. Usually that means something wicked this way comes." Then a little frown. "Everyone says that. Where does it come from? I need to google that sometime." And back to the topic at hand.

"At least if he already knows about it, hopefully he's working on figuring it out. since so many of us are having it. Mothman doesn't have a doppleganger that I remember reading about but I could be wrong."
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Mouse is more than happy to get pets from a friendly face, even offering a slobbery lick of that hand before turning and /leaning/ his body against Buffy. He seems to know his own weight, so he's not trying to knock her over. But it is a little insistent.

"Oh, hey, Mothman. That's not too bad," Molly says. "I love Mothman. I mean, less so if he's spontaneously showing up in my dreams with his evil twin. But, I literally woke up with slobber on my hand. So.. whatever's going on, I'm not sure it was just a dream. It's a better fit than wolves, though. They didn't really look like wolves to me."

She motions farther in to the place. She's already heading towards the sitting area in front of their bookshelves. "Come on in. Let's sit down, if you have a second. There are.. things we should talk about. I have an idea, but I'm not sure you're going to love it."
Buffy Summers has posed:
Thankfully she's stronger than she looks so the lean from the mastiff wasn't as bad as it might've been. But no less insistent. She started to give more scritches as she listened to Molly. Then a quick nod and Buffy motioned that way. "C'mon, floofster. We'll sit and you'll get better scritches. But not on my lap. Though I have to say those things were more doggo than wolf to me too, in the dream. Thus why I figured maybe not Mothman. Besides the duo thing of course."

Then she followed Molly over and settled down on one of the seats. Her eyebrows lifted a little though at the last. "And idea I'm not going to love. That's not really the best way to sell the idea," she teased but with a good natured smile.

"What's on your mind?"
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Mouse trots happily along with Buffy, and Molly's smile twitches a little wider when she takes her seat. Same couch as Buffy -- just the other side of it, giving a little space between them that the head of a particular mastiff seems more than happy to fill.

"Well, I sort of need you to be totally into it... no reservations. So, we can talk about it as much as you want, but..." Her lips purse for a moment. "It's more what's on /your/ mind that I want to find out. Specifically, I want to take a look at your memories."

She raises a hand slightly. "Before you say anything, magic.. our particular brand of magic.. isn't just something you're universally good or bad at. Harry's /really/ good at fire magic and moving a lot of energy at one time. My specialty is more... subtle. Psychomancy -- mind magic. Memories. Illusions. Things like that, and I'm /really/ good at it."

She lowers the hand, but she doesn't stop her stream of consciousness. "You and I haven't talked much.. and I'm not sure how you're really.. feeling about the memory loss. But, that's what I wanted to come find you about. I talked to Willow. And Thomas. And.. Harry and I did a /lot/ to try to figure out what's going on with /him/, because he's having memory issues, too. And, it's just the two of you that I know about. So.. I was hoping to try to find a pattern. Something I could use to figure out how to reverse it."

Then she waits, eyebrows a little lifted.
Buffy Summers has posed:
"Ah." Just that little sound. It said so much in a single syllable. Buffy absently was stroking Mouse's head now as she considered.

"What brought me here was the dream. But I ran into Harry recently at that Pub for wizards and stuff? Mac's or something. And he mentioned he had memory holes."

She tilts her head and looks over at Molly curiously. "Willow also mentioned she had talked to you and that you had brainstormed a little, I guess is the best way to put it. About things it might be. And she trusts you so..." A shrugs. "I trust you by osmosis." Which was not the right word but it got the point across.

"In comparing notes with Harry, they don't seem the same. He said he can't remember Karrin. Just a specific person. Can remember events but she isn't in them when she was there. For me it's just a blank slate from sometime about...three and a half years ago now maybe? My freshman year of college," she adds for clarification. "Early in the year too. And then suddenly just one day about a year and a half ago. So in essence, I lost about two years. Apparently during that time I met Thomas and we had a relationship but I just don't remember him at all. Nor anyone else I met at that time. So it's both memory loss but different in mine is like a total wipe and his seems more..." She pondered a moment. "For lack of a better word, targetted."

A glance down at Mouse then back to Molly. "What do we need to do for you to compare? Just ...peek in my noggin?"
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Molly nods, looking significantly more hopeful than she had when she started the pitch. "Thank you. That's really nice of her.. I like Willow, too. And that's.. basically what she described, which is why I asked Harry to let me take a look through /his/ memories. And you're right. Harry still /has/ the memories, but it's like somebody edited her out. She was even gone from the same memories that /I/ have of the two of them together. I have no idea how his brain is reconciling that missing person. It's just.. filling in the gaps and ignoring the blank space."

"But, looking at your memories is.. invasive. I mean, it's not like it /hurts/. But, there are soul gazes and wizard sight, which are both kind of different and can be kind of.. vague.. in their own way. But this is different. I can see specific events. And I am /not/ going looking for anything else. It's just.. memories can be kind of.. timey-wimey. It's not exactly like a filing cabinet in there, and these days, I stay out unless I'm specifically invited in." These days. So she wasn't /always/ so forward about it. Maybe that's what's up with all the enthusiastic consent stuff.

"All I need to be touching you. Beyond that, you just relax. It shouldn't take long."

And then she holds out a hand, palm up.
Buffy Summers has posed:
Buffy listened to the explanation, focused and paying close attention but not seemingly nervous. Which was just her playing her role well because this sounded weird as heck. And it was letting someone in her brain. Certainly Molly was trusted but it still wasn't something one did lightly. But after so long, she was willing to go with it if there might be some answers. After all, she'd like to remember. As complicated as that might be.

"Well, you know who and what I am. So, you know what you're in for up there." She tapped her temple with the index finger of her free hand with two little tippity taps. "It might not be pretty. But I don't really have anything to hide with my friends so no worries there." She moved to put her hand on Molly's. And paused.

Quickly she took her hand off Mouse's head. "Sorry, big guy. Not sure if this would give her your memories too if I create a conduit. Give us a minute." Then she looked back to Molly and took a deep breath.

Before she could think about it too deeply, she placed her palm atop Molly's.
Molly Carpenter has posed:
"Oboete," Molly whispers once Buffy's hand is in hers, closing her eyes so she can focus.

And that's all it takes. It's not the big, flashy magic that Harry does. There's no bangs or booms. No plumes of fire or smoke. And in what probably feels like only a few seconds to Buffy, Molly goes digging.

It helps when you know specifically what you're looking for. So, she went searching for Thomas first, and much like Harry, she didn't find any trace of her target. /Unlike/ Harry, she didn't really have any shared memories of Thomas to pull from, though. Still.. a two-year long relationship? That kind of thing tends to stand out. And it just.. wasn't there.

But it wasn't just Thomas the man. Like Buffy said, the events weren't there, either. There was plenty on both sides. Vampires and Willow and school and friends and other relationships, but it wasn't like Buffy had memories of romantic dinners alone or (God forbid) some odd nights of being seduced by 'the invisible man.' Given Molly's own history with Thomas, she wasn't exactly looking forward to those.

In fact.. it almost felt like an empty space on the bookshelf. Like someone had taken a chunk of stuff and just.. removed it. Not locked it away. Not snipped it and set it off to the side. It was just... gone. All of it. Harry's memory had been modified by something like a scalpel, but there was nothing /surgical/ about this.

So, when Molly opens her eyes again and drops her hand, she shakes her head.

"You're right. It's not the same," she says, her eyes a little haunted. "It's not even /close/ to being the same."
Buffy Summers has posed:
That had Buffy's stomach dropping a bit. It was her worst fears confirmed. What had been just a Them problem was now a Her and Him problem. Two situations instead of one. Or just different approaches to each of them for some reason. But what reason would someone have to erase Karrin from Harry's memories? Just her. And for Buffy, everything.

"What do you mean it's not even close to being the same? I mean it's still memory holes, right? Or is it..."

Buffy's brow furrowed and she shook her head. She tried her damndest to remember anything from those two missing years and there was absolutely nothing. Not a flicker. Thought a blink of a thought. It was like point A to point B. "I was fighting some vampires. Dusted a few. Then all of a sudden, next memory I was standing in a different place with no vampires around, different clothes, no idea how I got there. When I went to the apartment to talk to Willow, found out I hadn't lived there for ages. She even had new roommates. And that's when it all was exposed. But we've looked at every spellbook we can find, consulted with Giles even. We can't come up with any memory spells that might be responsible." She motioned to Molly. "Though you do things a different way, with the wizards in your group."

She dropped her eyes. "You have any guesses?"
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Molly shakes her head. "Harry doesn't have.. holes. There's no gaps in time. It's like if you went to a party and talked to someone, but forgot they were there. You remember the party. You just.. forgot the conversation. It's almost like whoever did it wanted to take the most important person in Harry's life away from him."

There's a little pain in her eyes when she says it.

"Even I couldn't do it with that much precision. I could.. make him not /like/ her anymore. Make him vomit every time he saw her. But even that's considered black magic and /seriously/ dangerous... trust me." The girl's smile thins. "Removing her from each and every memory is.. I mean, the working theory is that it was some sort of demon, which.. yeah. Maybe. That's some seriously scary stuff."

She sighs softly.

"But in your case? It's all gone. You.. yeah. I mean, you literally lost a whole two years at once. /I/ could do that. I mean, that large of a span of time would be difficult. I don't know if I could do two years worth. But just to make you forget a chunk of time happened at all? Psychomancy can do it. It's sort of bread-and-butter stuff for warlocks that don't want anyone to know their secrets. And, if you had more than one wizard channeling it at once? You could wipe out two years... I use it as an evocation, maybe a thaumaturgic ritual? To boost the power? It's possible.."
Buffy Summers has posed:
That was the second time there was a little reaction at the thought of who Harry forgot. Buffy wasn't completely blind. But she had no way to know why it was. Maybe it was just because it was such a tragic thing. She had no way to know it was because of Molly's own feelings where Harry was involved.

She gave a little squeeze of Molly's hand, supporting as little as she could, whatever the reason for that look. Then she withdrew her hand as she considered this. Facing it as a Slayer would. "At first I thought maybe it had to do with the emotional connections. But with them being so different, I don't think that's a good working theory now. Otherwise mine would look like his. Unless mine was the test run and his was the precision later but it just doesn't feel like that's it." She had learned to trust hunches. It had something to do with Slayer memories at times and thus was a tool to use in her investigations.

"You mention a warlock-or more than one--could do so. But why? What happened in that two years that was important. Maybe I found something out that would upset their plans? But no, cause then they could use the easier method and not need backup."

She absently started petting Mouse's head again as she thought about it. "I mean they couldn't kill me. That would activate another Slayer. Or they would think it would. But since Faith is already a Slayer activated in the line, I honestly don't even know if that would happen. She might just remain as the only one and then the magic continues once she dies. No way to know without me dying and sorry, would rather avoid that. Again."

She chewed at the inside of her bottom lip a moment. "I just can't see why they wouldn't do the short memory spell instead of a huge block. I mean if I knew it for two years, I would've already shared it with the Scoobies, y'know?"
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Molly's expression softens after that squeeze, her smile a bit more natural than before. In reality, she didn't really have that many friends.

It was pretty much just Harry, who was.. well.. Harry. Thomas was even more complicated, if that was possible. Murphy was gone. Butters was awkward. Bob the skull just wanted to see her naked. And then there was her parents and siblings, none of whom she could really talk to about any of this.

Actually, come to think of it, there was a notable lack of females in her life. And those that were there were all Harry's love interests, most of whom she had the dubious honor of helping him navigate when he asked. .... yay.

She could always call up Donald Morgan and talk to him about her woes. Of course, if she mentioned she'd been poking around in Harry and Buffy's heads -- the reason she was under the Doom of Damocles in the first place -- he'd probably just behead her on the spot.

So, even just that squeeze seems to help.

Molly shakes her head. "I don't know. I mean, at this point, you probably have more enemies than Harry does. I don't think it was a test run. If it was like six months and then scaling up to two years? Or twenty? Sure. That's possible. But, you two are... different. Besides, twenty would have put you back in diapers.. or, pretty close to it. You wouldn't be doing any slaying, anyway. If they were trying to be subtle and protect some sort of secret, that's not exactly the way to do it. Someone would have noticed a lot sooner if you suddenly forgot how to feed yourself."
Buffy Summers has posed:
"Wait, what? That would be so wrong." There was a soft laugh from Buffy. "Man, poor Willow would've had to be babysitting me. Wonder if I'd keep the Slayer powers or would they just reverse." And more giggles as she thought of the Flintstones cartoon from back in the day. What was that baby's name? "Like Bam-Bam!" She remembered. Course, who knows if Molly saw those reruns in her childhood.

But then the giggles faded and it was like a lightbulb went off over her head. And she narrowed her eyes as her hand on Mouse forgot it was supposed to be petting. It just rested there on his neck rather heavily as she looked down a moment. Then back up to Molly.

"Willow mentioned something recently. That I've been acting like I did back when we started college. Like I haven't...grown up and matured? But that doesn't make sense right, cause time passed for me too? Unless I'm just messed up which--let's be honest here--with my life is pretty damn likely."

And suddenly she was leaning forward a little. "What if I didn't mature? What if..." She frowned a bit then scrunched up her brow as she did so. "This isn't memory related. But time? You or Harry or any of your bunch good with time magic? Which I'm guessing is a thing but maybe it isn't."
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Buffy's giggling is infectious, and Molly catches it too at the mention of Bam-Bam. "That's... terrifying. A fully-grown Buffy slinging Willow around by a finger? I'm not sure that babysitting session would last very long."

But then there's sobering of the moment and the mention of her behavior.

"...sure," Molly says tentatively to the mention of being messed up. "I mean, we all have our moments. And you /are/ missing two years of your memory. But.. time is definitely a possibility. Maturity isn't all just memories. There's physical development and all of the motor memories that we get from experience.."

She purses her lips, though, and shakes her head.

"Time isn't really a thing we deal with, though. No do-overs for us. I've heard about some mages out there that can mess with it, but.. honestly? I try not to think about that too hard. It's the kind of thing that makes me wonder why I'm getting out of bed in the morning if someone can just.. undo it."

She frowns, then.

"I'm sorry. I think I just realized how frustrating this must be for you."
Buffy Summers has posed:
"Once we had exhausted all the options, I just sort of put it on the back burner. Tried not to think about it, just moved on with my life. Apparently during that time I've lost, I sort of drifted away from Willow. Or maybe it was when I got with Thomas? I'm not really sure there since I don't know but the idea I would ever turn my back on her just confuses the hell out of me. I would never do that. She's been my best friend since I came to Sunnydale. Her and Xander though he's busy so much these days I barely get to see him either."

Buffy frowned a bit as she remembered there was a giant floofster under her hand and she started to pet Mouse again. "I apparently fell in love. Or lust. I really don't know for sure. People told me it was love but knowing what Thomas is now, after it being explained, I don't know how that worked. Especially since if I loved him, wouldn't I have been like...the opposite of his magnetic pole." That sounded far different in her head than it did when she said it. "Rephrase. Polar opposite." That was better. "So it couldn't have been true love I'm guessing. But still. Love's a big deal."

She considered the next part and shook her head. "It'd be hard to compare motor memory for me. Because I tap into the memory of past Slayers all the time, unconsciously. So there is a lot of motor memory I have that didn't come with first hand experience. Not sure how that would be tested."

"This does give me another way to maybe approach this. I don't know Nick's areas of expertise, if time might be in them. If nothing else, I know Willow had contacts in the Justice League." Then she pursed her lips. "I don't know if that was a secret. Soooo let's pretend it is, 'kay? But she should have contacts through them to some magic types. See if they know time stuff."
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Molly nods, a little grin touching her lips. "I've only spent a little time with her, but I can see where Willow would make a pretty great friend. She's sweet." 'Sweet' said affectionately, but still with that slight edge that people with colorful hair can sometimes get. Like it's cute.

She smirks at the mention of Thomas's 'magntic pole.'

"So, it may be worth mentioning.. and, since you don't remember the rest of it, I don't even know if it's worth bringing up. Thomas and I... had a thing, before you. It's.. fine. It ended.. amicably." As amicably as it could be after a Knight of the Cross got so mad at a vampire dating his daughter that he burned a hand-print into Thomas's table. "I don't really talk to Harry about it, but.. at this point, I assume he understands it happened. Regardless, I just say all that to say that.. he has real feelings for you. It's easy to get lost in Thomas, though.. and kind of forget which way is up. It's not his fault... mostly. It's just who he is. But it's dangerous. Either way, Thomas will always be family." Beat. "Which.. sounds kind of gross, when I say it like that."

Then there's the mention of the motor memory, and of the new approach. "Her secret's safe with me," she says warmly. "But, yeah. And you know if there's anything I can do, I'm here. I want to help in whatever way you need me to."
Buffy Summers has posed:
At the confession, Buffy reached over a hand again to try to touch Molly's arm. It's what she would do if she was talking to Willow and it seemed only natural to her. "That's fine. Even when I get my memories back," she said, using the word when again for the first time in probably a year, instead of if she would get her memories back. "Even if the memories are there, not sure if the feelings will be. And I just...I don't know. I was involved with a vampire before. Like, the other kind. that sucks blood. Not the sort you guys have in your circles it sounds like though. And that didn't work out so well. In fact, it almost caused the end of the world. So I'm really cautious about getting involved with anyone...supernatural. If that makes sense? So it surprises me to think I might have gotten involved with him at all."

She gives an apologetic smile as she withdrew that hand. "I actually wondered if he'd used his powers to cause me to end up with him, I have to admit. When I found out about it after the blank took over my memories. And apparently I let him..feed off me." She made a face at the very idea of that. "To the point I was having some physical difficulties. I can't do that as a Slayer. It...has to come first. It's not like we retire. And even though there are two of us at the moment, that doesn't change my feelings toward my responsibilities."
Molly Carpenter has posed:
Molly nods, not retreating from that touch. She even sets her hand for a moment on top of Buffy's. "I get that. And now you /know/ your thoughts with your head clear. I'm /sure/ you can handle a vampire, but if it becomes a problem when you get your memories back, just know that you can always come talk to me and I'll help. I'd consider it a personal favor if you didn't drive a stake through him just because he's a lecherous jerk."

She does stand, though, and give Mouse a pet on the head.

"I'll tell Harry about your dream when I see him. That's three of us, now, and Mouse was in all of them. We'll get to the bottom of that, too."


"...And Harry's memory loss."

She sighs.

"When it rains, it pours."