Roanapur Knights - For The Cleaner Who Has EverythingAuthor
: B.H. RamsayDisclaimer
: Characters appearing here belong to Mutant Enemy & Funimation EntertainmentRating
: The gang on the ff.net Black Lagoon Forums including Just Another Soul whose amazing stories about Sawyer partially inspired this effort check them out @ www.fanfiction.net/u/449464/Just_Another_SoulSummary
: Sawyer the Cleaner come under attack of a most insidious kind
AN - lets just say that my love of the source material meant I had to try and see if I could do this and make it work :-)
"Why do I have to come along She hates me?" Andrew Wells was whining. Normally this would be annoying to Xander Harris but he had to admit it was for good reason his fellow Watcher was nervous.
Not long after arriving in Roanapur, Andrew had an unfortunate run-in with Frederica Sawyer. Sawyer; an independent freelance contractor acted on behalf of anyone willing to pay her wage. She made bodies, evidence and occasionally, when the need - or Sawyer's whims required it, the witnesses of criminal activities disappear. Hence her more famous moniker of Sawyer the Cleaner.
The memory of Andrew's first encounter with Sawyer the Cleaner was fresh in his mind as was how close he had come to getting a first hand demonstration of the woman's more sadistic side and the means by which she was given to indulging it. There was a very good reason her base of operations was in a slaughterhouse and meat packing plant.
Xander and Andrew found one of the few cab drivers honest and brave enough to make a trip out to the isolated location of the UG Pork building. Rock was along dropping off a check for Sawyer's services.
She'd cleaned up after the Lagoon crew's latest job gone wrong ...well the job had gone fine, but the client had decided to renege. Revy the group's resident gun toting problem solver had dealt with him. She had been feeling particularly brutal requiring Sawyer's services when the carnage was over.
"This is political," Xander, explained to Andrew, "I'm paying Sawyer to give The Slayer's anatomy lessons and I want to make sure she's in a good mood."
"...About that," Andrew wondered, "does Buffy know you're paying a body disposal expert and bounty hunter to teach the girls?"
"To put it bluntly Andrew, Sawyer has butchered more human bodies then you or I have ever seen. She could teach those guys on CSI a few tricks. Plus Sawyer's obviously seen the same kind of hell those girls have survived. When they see how strong she is they'll know they don't have to let their pasts control them they can become something stronger and better then they were."
"No offence but she's kind of a head case." Andrew pointed out. "She almost killed me."
"...After you messed with her voice machine, there was a time when she would have been curled up in a ball without that." Xander commented, "she's learned to operate without one, but she is still sensitive about It."
"I agree with your reasoning, " Rock said, "but did you TELL Miss Summers?"
Xander snorted, "Are you kidding, I like my ass in its current non-kicked condition thank you very much."
"How'd you find out it was Sawyer's Birthday anyway?" Andrew asked, " She doesn't come off as being very open about stuff like that."
Xander sidestepped the question evasively, "We bonded and It came up in conversation ... lets just leave it at that."
Andrew was incredulous, "You bonded, ... with a borderline psychotic with emotional issues? You know I have to ask what happened right?"
"Not before I get out of the car you won't." Xander said quickly hopping from the vehicle. There was another car out front and Xander was not surprised to see Shenhua and Rotton The Wizard climbing from the vehicle. Sawyer lived with them, all three being partners in crime.
Local scuttlebutt claimed they were partners in other respects as well but Xander had learned a long time ago not to form opinions based on rumor. Especially when those rumors were about notoriously dangerous women with volatile tempers, no matter how intriguing that rumor might be.
"What you doing here with drooling idiot Watcher?" Shenhua snapped, glaring at Andrew.
Xander held up a small package. "Peace offering. I remembered what day it was so I figured..."
"You thinking Sawyer memory so bad she not remember what drooling idiot-boy do to her?" Obviously she was still annoyed on Sawyer's behalf over the whole voice machine incident.
"One, his name is Andrew, Two, he said he was sorry and Three, the only reason he's drooling is cause every time he sees you, you look like you stepped out of a wuxia epic." Xander nodded at her cheongsam and jacket combo that managed to make her look both demur, sexy and lethal all at once. It also gave her quick access to the many bladed weapons she favored.
Shenhua snorted, "What Skinny Watcher possibly know about wuxia beyond silly movies?"
"I've watched everything the Shaw Brothers ever made and I've seen Yang Clan, without the crappy English dubbing." Andrew responded confidently.
"What about Paradise?" Rotton asked.
Andrew snorted, "Your kidding me right, you can't call yourself a devotee if you've never seen Paradise."
Shenhua sighed, "Not another one," She turned to Rotton, "you not bringing Skinny Watcher man over to watch crappy movies. You promise Shenhua you not watch while she is around."
"Of course my dove, I wouldn't dream of upsetting you." Rotton assured her. as soon as Shenhua's back was turned however Rotton was making the "Call me " gesture to Andrew. They headed into the factory.
"I'd of thought you guys would do your celebrations at home." Xander asked Shenhua.
"Sawyer not come home last night, took advantage to make up place all nice for party. Want to make sure she know to come home tonight."
They entered Sawyer's inner sanctum where they found the room apparently empty. A box with hand lettering lay discarded on the workbench.
Xander looked at the package, "Someone beat us to the whole Birthday thing. Looks like this came last night."
Shenhua gave a small cry. Sawyer lay unconscious on the floor. The Taiwanese killer rushed to her partner's side but Xander catching sight of something stopped her.
"Don't touch her, do not touch her." He pointed at Sawyer's throat. Wrapped around her throat was a snake-like creature, its mouth was secured to the back of Sawyer's head while the Cleaner herself stared blankly into space.
"What's wrong with her." Rotton asked, "What is that thing?"
Rock looked around the place, "I'm not sure but it looks like it came in that box. Someone wanted her to think it was a gift. I guess she assumed it was a Birthday present."
Xander looked at Sawyer carefully, "She's alive but it's like she's dreaming."
"What she dreaming of?" Shenhua sounded almost afraid.
Frederica Sawyer blinked her eyes. the harsh glare of flashbulbs blinding her. She looked around at the clapping crowd. People clapping, for Sawyer the Cleaner, it could not be. Rotton stepped forward looking cool as always.
"I told them you'd be surprised." He said with a smile, he hugged her before making room for Shenhua.
"Honey you should see your face." Shenhua said with not a trace of her accent, "I haven't seen shock like that since I replaced that old cow what was her name...?"
Rotton laughed, "She was principle dancer for the New York Ballet."
"Was - being the important part, am I right?" Shenhua laughed.
"You are so cruel." Rotton said giving her a kiss.
"... And you love it don't you?" Shenhua hugged him. "Now why is New York's hottest artist hanging out with us when she could be talking to people way more important."
"Who could be more important then my friends." Sawyer replied in a voice horse with emotion. Then she stopped. Had she just spoken? It had been so many years, so long since she had heard the sound of her own voice. She hesitantly raised her hand to her throat. Her fingers traced along the flesh but there was nothing, no scar, no puckered skin, nothing. It was like her throat being cut had happened in a dream, a dream she had trouble remembering now
"Don't you dare start crying cause I'll start and I don't want to ruin my make-up." Shenhua snapped already blinking away a few joyous tears.
"Listen, honey I hope you don't mind but I had your parents flown in." Rotton muttered, "All part of the magic you know."
"Mom and Dad are ... here?" Sawyer looked around and caught sight of her father's large imposing build. His arm hooked protectively around the his loving wife.
Surely this strong brilliant man and his sophisticated wife, these were her real parents. The psychotic simpleton and the raped hitchhiker she'd felt equal parts love and loathing for her whole life, yet another dream she was finally waking up from.
"DAD!" she called out "What are you doing here I thought you were going to be on set till Christmas."
"Freddy, one of the benefits of being a top tier actor is you get to pull a tantrum every now and then."
"Don't let him fool you Honey." Her mother said with wry humor. "He was like a maniac on the set made them film a ton of his scenes back to back so he could sneak off for this."
"Honestly if I had to spend another minute with that celebutante they hired for scream queen, I might have killed someone...for real."
"Dear she's popular with the kids."
"In the good old days, we liked it when everyone in a movie could at least act instead of just looking good dressed in a bikini and covered in water."
"I thought that was just the main requirement of marrying you." Her mother said with wry humor.
They turned back to the large mural. "Frederica Sawyer. I have to say I'm glad youre finally using the family name" her father commented.
"I'm not ashamed of the family Daddy I just want..."
"... Your accomplishments to be judged according to who YOU are instead of who you're related to." Thomas waved aside her apparently often-repeated concerns, "Freddy you're even more of a celebrity then I am. You have been for a long time now. Practically every one knows who you are and who your parents are. "
"I just want you all to be proud of me." Sawyer answered.
Her father blinked at her, "Freddy Girl, I'm always proud of you, no matter what you did."
"Ah what a touching family moment can I join in?" Sawyer heard a voice she hated and looked around. a familiar face with a camera stood snapping pictures like a fiend.
"Rebecca Chang, bottom-est of the bottom feeders, isn't there a young star you could be feeding alcohol and drugs to so you can get pictures of her without her underwear on." Shenhua spat in disgust.
"... Or maybe standing around taking photos while some celebrity is dying in the street somewhere." Thomas snarled, "That had to be your proudest moment."
"What the hell are you doing here. Chang - this party is VIP only." Rotton was asking as he positioned himself in front of the notorious paparazzi.
"Hey Spooky any comment on the rumors your dad is really a retarded freak-job who raped your mom and wore dead people's faces as masks."
"Alright, that's enough out of you." Rotton hissed, "we'll call the police if you don't get out now."
"Come on, Spooky a little truth never hurt anyone." Rebecca shouted while still snapping photos. "The world wants a quote from Fred-Fred. How does it feel to take a chainsaw to a dying boy begging for his life."
Sawyer felt a weakness and the world spun around her the snapping of photos overwhelmed her and the room started spinning. She heard other voices now.
+++"Alright Andrew we'll follow your lead, What are we going to do?"
"Well we can't just rip it off her, it will flood her system with poisons and she'll die. We need to wean it off her, make it want to let her go."
"You have to do something Surfer Boy," Was that Shenhua's voice but why was her accent so thick.
"It feeds on emotions ... maybe if we can make her mad; upset her somehow."
"Maybe there is a way, Rock, where is Revy?"
Then just as suddenly, the attack was over. She looked around the loft was empty of everyone she was alone with her friends and family.
"Sorry I kind of spaced out " Sawyer said weakly, Those images, and the voices had seemed so real.
"I hate that Rebecca Chang, she is such a bitch." Shenhua hissed, "Would you believe she was quoted in The New Yorker. Labels my performance in Swan Lake as - pole dancing for the top ten percent- and they quoted her."
"She and her partner are gone now, we can relax a little." Rotton sighed.
"Her partner?" Sawyer asked.
"Okajima, he hooked up with that tabloid rag she shoots for a while back. They say that's the real reason they do so well these days." Shenhua explained.
Rotton nodded, "I'm guessing that was how she got into the party in the first place."
"Of course, that must have been it." Sawyer looked around the apartment. Her eyes focused on a painting sitting discarded in the corner.
She wandered over to the thing. a oil painting of a squat building a broken sign proclaimed the building to be some kind of meat packing plant. On the ground, wet with rain was the rest of the building's broken sign. U-G it read.
"UG Pork," Sawyer read out. "What does it mean?"
"You're asking me? That hung for six months in the Guggenheim and you refused to say what that actually meant,"
"Celebrated artist, my own space to work from, well regarded work, its everything I've ever dreamed of." Sawyer whispered touching the painting. her finger came away wet with paint, and yet under the paint something else ... "is this ...blood?"
"It's a modern art trend. I think you were going through an experimental stage. Unfortunately it's become popular so everyone copied you and is doing it." Rotton brightened, "Still if you want to make more of them again I can always sell it you know your work always sells."
"My work sells..." She looked at the picture, "Why, would someone want to buy this it's so ordinary."
"Are you trying to be ironic darling because there is nothing ordinary about your work."
"Rotton, did you ever feel like life is too perfect?"
"Life can't be too perfect Fred."
"I want to be respected, I want it so badly but I never say anything."
"Well honey that's not your way you never talk about what you need that's what makes you so cute."
"You think I'm cute, what about Shenhua."
"Well Shenhua is a good friend."
"She's more then a friend ... to both of us."
"...And she still will be no matter what WE do." Rotton smiled, pulling a small box from his pocket and flashing the ring inside at her. "No need to make up your mind right away."
The TV was on; Sawyer could see images flashing across the screen and a announcer talking.
"This is live video footage of out of West Texas. We are talking to Sheriff Hoyt. Sheriff what are we looking at here."
"Well we got a tip from a New York City photojournalist. We followed it up and we found this - bodies dozens of them in varying sates of decay and dismemberment."
"And what of the rumors that the family home is registered to the Thomas Sawyer celebrated actor and father to New York Artist Frederica Sawyer."
"What the hell is all of this?" Fred snapped.
"Fred you know how it goes, this is just sensational gossip it will blow over."
"Blow over? They're calling my dad some kind of twisted serial killer."
"But it isn't true is it, when the police check they will find he was on the coast filming or out of the country when those people were killed."
"How do you know?"
"Come on Sawyer can't you sense the truth. The truth never goes away it's always there you can always feel it"
"...Ain't that the damn truth." Sawyer spun around, it was the TV again, "The truth never goes away and the truth is Sawyer isn't who she pretends to be."
IT was that damn Gunwoman again being interviewed in TV. She paused, Gunwoman, why was she calling her that. Chang had no guns that was just in the dream, the dream of Sawyer the Cleaner.
+++"Why should I care if she's out of it?"
"Damn it Revy!, Xander even promised to pay you. All you have to do is talk so she can hear."
"She hates me, I hate her - what's so hard about that to figure out."
"If Andrew is right, the fact you hate each other might make all the difference, now talk tell me about the first time You met Sawyer?"
"That between me and her, you want a trip down memory lane ask about something else."
"Fine, what about the first time ROCK met her."
"Oh that was a barrel of monkeys it was back when Benny-boy first met his cyber-squeeze Janet...
The TV announcer was talking to the paparazzo, next to her was her partner, the Japanese Okajima. "Miss Chang is this related to your assertions that Frederica Sawyer is some kind of killer."
"Some kind if killer? Lady, there ain't nobody better then Sawyer The Cleaner and this is me talking I hate the bitch but if you want someone gone, you always go to Sawyer."
"Mister Okajima do you have any comment. When did you first encounter Miss Sawyer."
"That was during that whole hunt for Janet. She cut her way through a door with that chainsaw of hers. If they hadn't torched the building she might have gotten me that day."
How could that be He was talking like the dream, her dream of the city called Roanapur was real.
"I'll get the lawyers on this we'll sue them into the next dimension." Rotton said reassuringly.
Suddenly Okajima's phone rang, the announcer was clearly annoyed at the interruption but Rock just took the call. Giving orders to someone on the other end.
"...That's right Xander wants a sweep of the entire city you're looking for strangers, they'll be black ops personnel " the response obviously upset him, "No, we need them alive. You know the rules when it comes to human targets, No unnecessary wet-work."
"What's going on?" Sawyer asked.
"They are ruining your dreams." Rotton snapped, "they should be punished,"
"Isn't this better," Her mother begged, "you have parents who love you."
"You have friends who care about you." Shenhua begged.
"People who respect you," Rotton asked, "isn't that what you really want?"
"Isn't that what you WANT to dream of." Thomas begged.
"Look at them can't you see it?" Revy hissed from the TV, "When did your Momma ever beg, ever, tied up like an animal and slaughtered like an animal when it was her time ...but did she ever once beg."
"What's happening to me?" Sawyer whined. "Get out, all of you I need quiet. I need to think."
"Do you really want to go back to that vile place?" Rotton asked.
"Your slashed throat; not being able to talk." Shenhua asked her.
"Wondering when and if I'll betray you." Rotton hissed "No friends, no family just the vile little gnome they call Sawyer the Cleaner."
"That's the truth, that's who I am; who I was meant to be." Sawyer whispered.
"You've always been stronger then the rest of the family Freddy, I was always proud of you. I took a lot of things and people out of this world. You were the only good thing I ever brought into it."
"How can you be proud of me?" Sawyer snarled.
"Because you know the truth in your heart, the truth is ... I was scared of what you'd become but I never stopped hoping for better and loving you for wanting more then that squalid little house could ever give you. God help me, you found it in your own way. Happiness, success and a family; you have all that." Her mother reminded her softly.
Sawyer took a scalpel, putting the blade to her throat.
"We will always love you Freddy in your heart you'll always know we loved you."
"I wasn't sure before but I think I loved you too." Sawyer sighed.
She sank the blade deep in her skin, and then she drew the blade across her own throat cutting through the tendons and muscle wall. Fiery pain made her scream but there was something familiar about the pain. Something freeing...
She was laying prone on the floor. staring blankly into the harsh light that was weaving around. She reached up and grasped the hand holding the light with her freakish strength.
Xander grunted in pain "Ouch, I was just checking to see if you were really awake."
Sawyer tried to ask him what he was doing looming over her, what had happened but all she could do was croak, she raised her hand to her throat, the scars across her throat were there.
"What you doing Surfer boy - give her back voice box." Shenhua sounded ...almost panicked.
"I have it here" Rotton whispered gently. He moved slowly letting her see him holding it and fastening the collar like device around her throat.
She hesitantly tested her voice before asking "What happened ... to me?
" She asked. her voice once again the monotone mechanical rasping she was so used to.
"You were attacked. Wolfram and Hart sent a few love gifts to certain highly placed people around town. Good thing they did lousy back-checking on their infiltration team."
"Charlie here has a brother who disappeared while on vacation a few years back. Dude wandered into a Hostel. I think you can guess what happened from there." Xander shuddered.
"She killed Davey, he was only seventeen you bitch -- seventeen, what did he do to wind up dead in your sick little factory."
"I not worry about Brother; you joining him soon." Shenhua hissed.
"What did he do to me?
Xander held up the snake-like creature still writhing in his grasp. It's called an incubus worm. It sprays an anesthetic that leaves the victim helpless while it injects its tongue into the brain. it feeds you a dream while it ...eats you from the inside out."
"You laying on floor when we find you, like you asleep, snake coiled around you I want to cut it off but surfer boy say no."
"Incubus worms are parasitic lifeforms. If we'd just cut it off it would have poisoned Sawyer maybe driven her mad or killed her. We have to wean it off her make it want to leave."
"How did you manage to do that
"It feeds on the images it finds in your dream state. To make it leave we had to make your dreams ...not taste as good."
"Andrew was the one who figured that part out."
"Andrew? ... As in messing with my voc - Andrew?
Andrew scurried behind Xander .
"Where skinny watcher man think he's going." Shenhua snapped. "You watch enough wuxia, You know what happens when silly sidekick act like hero." She grabbed Andrew and picked him up one-handed, planting a kiss on him that left him breathless.
"I think I died and went to heaven." Andrew sighed weakly when Shenhua had dropped him back to the ground.
"I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility." Rotton smiled,
Xander filed the moment away for future gossip, then turned back to Sawyer.
"I remembered you and Revy always had some issue so I figured if you heard her talking your dreams would interpret that as something negative. Something you could focus on to pull you out of the dream."
"It worked I heard her voice, but why not Shenhua or Rotton, Why Rebecca?
"An incubus can create a dream prison for you but it can't make you feel anything. It picks images in your mind that make you feel happy and feeds them to you. By having Revy talking to you ... well you hate Revy. You were likely to hate whatever she became in your dreams. That hate isn't what the incubus wants to feed on so it let go."
"Thank you all of you.
"Hey Andy and Xand were the hero-boys." Revy muttered, clearly uncomfortable with being thanked especially by The Cleaner.
"Leaving us with the question of what to do with young Mister Charles." Rotton asked non too pleasant sounding.
"I know what happens to Mister Charles." Shenhua hissed, drawing her weapons, "Like all pig, first we slicing then we move on to more fun stuff. Who wants light meat?"
"Leave him be Shenhua.
Shenhua grinned, "You wanting to go right to mincing and grinding, Shenhua not mind."
"I'm not killing him, at least not yet.
"What? He try and kill you, he almost succeed I not giving him another chance."
"I didn't say I was letting him go I just said leave him to me.
"You already killed my Brother, you think I care what happens to me."
"You showed me a world I can never have.
"I'm betting getting out of the dream was like tearing off your own arm." Charlie hissed , still defiant, "I hope it hurt."
"You're right ... it hurt like nothing I've ever felt before in my life but it made me stronger … A strength I never knew I had before today… that's a favor I plan on returning.
A few days later Xander was reporting in to Rupert Giles about the attack."...We've found all the worms. Their stored safe and sound."
"We've been following leads from this end; incidentally Xander is it true you let Miss Sawyer keep one of the worms?"
"I'm not going to lie to you G-man so ...How about we just drop the subject."
"It just strikes me as a little … disturbing that she asked for the worm that was feeding off her."
"No Giles what's creepy is what she's doing with it."
Sawyer opened a heavy door in the UG Pork building it lead to a small room. Empty shelves and racks let people know that this was an old meat fridge. It no longer worked as a fridge but the door was sturdy enough meaning Sawyer could keep someone looked away there indefinitely were she so inclined. Charlie sat in a small chair. The incubus worm he'd set to attack Sawyer was coiled around his throat , it's mouth sucking on the back of the boy's head. Charlie stared blankly at the world."Hello Charles, you'll be pleased to know that we're almost ready to run a catheter After all I have to keep you nice and healthy now that your diet is liquid only."
She produced several plastic bags filled with a clear liquid. "Lots of yummy food to keep you going for a long time. Assuming I ever let you go, you might even have some hair and teeth left to eat real food."
Charlie sat motionless in his chair a single tear seeped from his eye. Sawyer noticed. "Are you dreaming of your brother again. I hope so. Now you be good and I'll change your bed pan tonight and in the meantime,"
Sawyer leaned in close, "If you see your Brother, say hello for me."
The Cleaner whispered to her senseless captive.
Charlie stalked down a dark hallway. If he concentrated, he often found himself in various places. A lonely farmhouse and the demented freaks that dwelt there luring people to deaths too horrible to witness yet he saw each an every kill as if he had been standing there.
Sometimes he ended up on the killing floor of UG Pork, carving up another luckless soul. Sometimes if he was lucky he saw the terrible night she had stalked the burning roof the Lagoon Office hunting the Japanese and the Counterfeiter. Sometimes he even ended up in the dark alleyway with the man with the sharp knife.
If he was not careful about guiding his thoughts, he returned to this place. A dank room filled with bodies. Davey crawling on mutilated limbs across the floor. Again, he saw himself moving with sure and steady steps toward his helpless brother raising the sledgehammer in his hands. No not HIS Hands, he had to hold to the thought that he was seeing her life, her memories. He saw the sledgehammer driving down hard and breaking Davey's' legs. The young boy screamed and Charlie joined him in the screaming because he knew what came next.
Hands reached down grabbing the wailing boy and dragging him across the floor tossing him on a bench, securing him. He had spent enough days in the farmhouse that he knew how to secure wriggling meat to the saw table. He looked at the weeping boy begging for his life.
"I'm sorry Davey," he said in his mind as his hands reached for the guide bar. He always tried to look away at this point; to not see what happened next, but it was no use.
He was only along for the ride. Lost in Sawyer's mind and memories and for Sawyer the death of his brother was just another job well done.