Buffy stood outside one of the interview rooms at CSI, watching through the two-way mirror as Amy made her statement. Subdued and exhausted, now that Willow’s actions had sunk in, Amy quietly admitted to killing Matthias and Dunning to set up Buffy Summers out of a desire for vengeance on an old high school rival. She hadn’t asked for a lawyer, and had sent Clarence away when the demon had offered to help her out.
Clarence stood next to Buffy, with Willow, Giles and Horatio, watching as Calleigh Duquesne took Amy’s statement. “She should have let me help out,” the lawyer sighed. “We could have got an inthanity defence easily.”
Uh, tried to kill Willow and everyone else and make it look like I did it?” Buffy reminded him. “Why would you help out the Wicked Witch of Miami?”
“Because everyone deserves a defence,” Clarence said with a shrug. “I’m a lawyer, this is what I do. But, since I’m not needed, I’ll be off. Miss Thummers, it’s been an honour to meet you. Mr Giles, Miss Rothenberg, if you need my help again, please don’t hesitate to ask. The Slayer is always a valued client.”
He walked away and Buffy shook her head. “Really never thought I’d like a demon lawyer.”
“Maybe the demon bit and the lawyer bit cancel each other out for evilness?” Willow suggested.
“I don’t actually want an explanation of the ‘demon lawyer’ comment, do I?” Horatio asked, amused despite himself. In the aftermath of Amy’s arrest, Eric and Ryan had sworn that nothing unusual had happened at all, just that Amy had admitted to murder and had a screaming match with Willow and Buffy. Horatio had wondered at the sudden amnesia, but Giles had told him a little of Sunnydale and the weirdness perception filter that most people seemed to live with. “But I do want a few explanations.”
Calleigh came out of the interview room before Buffy had a chance to respond and sighed. “She’s not making a lot of sense, Horatio. Said something about a goddess being angry with her.”
“We’ll let the DA have fun trying this one,” he told her. “Our job’s done. We caught the bad guy.”
“Yeah. Buffy, I’m really sorry about, well…”
“Yeah.” Calleigh grinned at the blonde. “But I hope you can forgive us.”
“Nah. It’s no big.” Buffy turned back to look at Amy again. “What’s going to happen to her?”
“Life without parole,” Horatio said firmly and Buffy shuddered.
“So we’re off the weird ‘magic made me do it’ fixation, right, Horatio? That was just frustration talking about not getting a break. You didn’t really think magic made us focus on that piece of glass, did you?” Calleigh teased lightly.
Horatio looked at Willow and Buffy for a long moment before he shook his head. “Too much work and too little sleep, Cal. That’s my only excuse.” He waited until the petite blonde had shaken her head, and gone to complete the paperwork on Amy before he turned back to the others. “My office. Now.”
“So, I’m guessing you’re after the full explanation,” Buffy said awkwardly when they were safely behind closed doors.
“That would be appreciated.”
“Giles? You do so love doing the ‘one girl’ speech,” Buffy said with a grin.
“Hardly,” he said dryly. “But since I think Lieutenant Caine would probably prefer his explanation in coherent sentences, it really should be me that explains. Where to begin? Well, after the last few days, I hardly need to tell you that magic and demons really exist.”
“I think I got that when the bush grew legs and attacked my CSI,” Horatio replied, his tone as dry as Giles’.
“Yes, well, we did try to keep you away from that. Magic exists, demons exist, vampires exist. And Buffy stops them.”
“Because she’s a Vampire Slayer, whatever one of those is?”
“Indeed.” Giles narrowed his eyes, trying to think how best to present the explanation they had decided on, in the brief journey back to CSI. It simply wasn’t practical to give Caine everything, despite how helpful he’d been. Too many lives depended on secrecy. “A Vampire Slayer is an extraordinary young woman-“
“That’s me! I’m extraordinary!” Willow snickered at Buffy’s jubilant tone and nudged her friend none too gently in the side. “Giles said it first, Willow!”
“Thank you, Buffy,” Giles said with a fond roll of his eyes. “A Slayer is gifted with strength, speed and agility that means she can fight the demons. If you went up against a vampire alone, Lieutenant, you’d be dead. Simple as that. Buffy fights them.”
Horatio opened his mouth, frowned, and paused before he spoke. “Buffy said this was the ‘one girl’ speech. She does this alone?”
“Er... basically. We help,” Willow offered. “Giles is Buffy’s Watcher, which means he helps her train, and I can make with the magic, and we have a couple of other friends who have been known to, you know, fight a bit, so Buffy totally has backup.”
“But she’s, I mean, you’re....” He paused again. “I saw some extraordinary things today, Buffy, and I fully accept that you have skills beyond those of a normal person, but you do this on your own?”
“There’s a couple of others,” Buffy admitted. “But that’s where it sort of gets complicated. What you need to know is that badness of this type is stopped by me and my friends. And there’s not a great deal else to say.”
Horatio arched one eyebrow. “I somehow doubt that. I, for one, have at least ten questions that I can think of off the top of my head.”
“Lieutenant, think about your team,” Giles said softly. “They are happier not knowing. Do you not think that maybe you would be the same?”
“But I know different and it’s too late now.”
“I’m afraid that is simply all you’re going to get,” Giles said firmly.
“Two final questions then. Allow me that for the sake of my curiosity.”
“The glass circle that my team all became obsessed with: could that have been caused by magic?”
Giles looked to Willow, who nodded definitely. “Oh yes, that sort of compulsion spell would have been relatively easy compared with the memory magic Amy used on Buffy. And it makes great sense. If she kept you from looking at any other evidence, then you couldn’t find the evidence that Buffy didn’t do it. Kinda clever, really.”
“Genius,” Buffy said sharply.
“Hey, not on her side here, just saying it was pretty clever.”
“True,” Horatio acknowledged. “My second question: how do I get in touch if I come across a vampire, or demon, or anything like this? If you’re the experts, fine, but I need to know how to call in the experts.”
“My card,” Giles said, handing him a plain white card with a single telephone number printed on it in black.
“And I can’t persuade you to tell me anything more?” He waited until all three shook their heads and then stood up, holding out his hand to shake theirs. “Well then, ladies, Mr Giles. Try to stay out of trouble for the rest of your stay and please don’t take it the wrong way when I say I hope never see you again.”
“None taken and right back at you,” Buffy grinned.
The three Scoobies walked out CSI into the bright Miami sunshine and Buffy heaved a heartfelt sigh of relief. She was free and clear and never going to take her freedom for granted ever again. When she thought how close she had come to being in prison, and thinking that she deserved to be in prison, it made her even look forward to going back to her little place in Hackney, dodgy area of London or not.
“You think that will stop him getting too involved?” Willow asked. “He seemed to give in fairly easily back there.”
“I have no doubts that Lieutenant Caine will remain interested in vampires and Slayers,” Giles admitted, “but I hope his day job will keep him occupied enough to distract him. I’ll have one of our people keep an eye out, just in case.”
“Enough talking cops,” Buffy decreed, linking arms with Willow as they strolled away. “Now what? I feel the urge for a little dancing. Giles, feel free to come up with an excuse not
to come with us.”
“Oh I will,” he replied. “But first, I believe there is a young Slayer who still wants some backup. Alejandra and her nest of vampires. Remember?”
“Giles!” Buffy whined. “You’re going to make me go straight back to work without any breaks? Come on! I nearly went Shawshank Redemption on you guys. I’m due a night off.”
“Vampires first,” he said firmly.
“But then party?”
“You up for that, Wills? There’s tons of hot girls in Miami, plenty of eye-candy,” Buffy tempted her.
“I guess.” She paused and bit her lip. “I’m not like Amy, am I?”
“No more than Buffy is like Faith,” Giles assured her
“Buffy, you and Faith have a lot in common,” he explained. “But she never had your support network of your mother and friends. Without them, you might have become like her. Amy never had your friends, Willow, and that is what stopped you from turning into her. Both of you should be very grateful to each other. Without each other, you might have been tempted to be so much less than you are.”
Buffy stared before hugging Giles tightly. “We had you too, you know.” She felt Willow set up behind her and hug both of them.
“Yeah, Giles. We had you.”
“And I have you two,” he smiled. “And Xander and Dawn and Faith and even Andrew. All in all, I count myself very lucky.”
“Speaking of, we’re not going to tell Dawn and Xander and the others that I sort of got arrested, are we?”
“Of course not,” Giles said immediately. “Unless, of course, you’re being particularly obstructive and I feel the need for a little blackmail.”
Willow laughed as she watched Giles tease Buffy. Amy had shaken her, the way she had come so close to losing control again. Clearly, she needed to do a little more meditation and control exercises. But she hadn’t totally lost control, she reminded herself. In the end, she had used only the cleanest magic to take Amy’s power from her. She could still feel the after-effects of the white magic in her system, giving her a mild buzz.
For now, she was happy to simply be with her friends, who had such total faith in her.
Buffy walked back into the conference room at the Watchers’ new headquarters, Giles and Willow behind her, and stopped in shock.
Banners hung from the ceiling and the walls were covered in posters of prison movies - Cool Hand Luke, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Con Air
- with Dawn and Xander standing beneath the biggest banner, the one that said, ‘Free the Sunnydale One!’
“Giles, you said you wouldn’t tell them!”
“Riley did,” Dawn explained with a wide grin.
“You’re looking very jailhouse-buff, Buff,” Xander teased. “We have all manner of prison goodies for you: freedom fries, themed cakes, mucho popcorn and of course…” He pressed play on the stereo and Elvis Presley started to sing Jailhouse Rock
Buffy looked stern as she helped herself to a cupcake with prison bars on in pink icing, but had to collapse in giggles as Xander grabbed Willow and started to dance to the music. Dawn hugged her sister tightly.
“We were worried,” she murmured, as they watched Giles get roped into dancing as well. “Not that you were guilty, but that we might not find a way of proving your innocence.”
“I know, Dawnie. I admit to being freaked by the whole thing.”
“But Amy’s locked up now, right?”
“Lieutenant Caine said so, and he seems to know what he’s doing.”
“And he knows about you?”
“Yeah, but the rest of his team caught Sunnydale Syndrome,” Buffy shrugged. “Giles said he’d keep an eye on him, you know, just in case, but he’s just one guy.”
“So were you. Well, just one girl,” Dawn corrected. “You know, until the whole Scythe thing. One girl in all the world.”
“No,” Buffy said, her arm around her sister, watching Xander and Willow dance around Giles. “I was never just one girl. I was never on my own.”
Horatio watched as Amy Madison was set free and escorted by her lawyer into a limousine. She spotted him, smiled wickedly and waved over at him, the lawyer echoing her movement. How the hell had she walked on this? His anger was simmering dangerously as he stalked into the DA’s office. For once uncaring if his anger showed on his face, he slammed the door closed.
“Tell me this is a stupid rumour, that I imagined that scene out there.”
“Tell me you did not let her go.”
“We had a confession,” Horatio snapped. “A confession, her voice on the 911 call and a DNA match. How could you let her go?”
“Her lawyers had our evidence suppressed. Without the physical evidence, and since she retracted her confession, the judge threw the case out. We had nothing, Caine.”
“We gave you everything!”
“And I don’t blame you or your lab. It was Amy Madison’s lawyers, that was all.”
“And who were they?”
“Wolfram and Hart.”