With Friends Like These
Buffy's mother calls a doctor right before she's about to confront Angelus. Dr. Maggie Walsh convinces Joyce she can help Buffy. Unknown to either Summers woman, the Council is backing Maggie's research. Giles and the Scoobies help set Buffy up, rather than letting the Council send their death squad after the Slayer. This is Buffy's personal journey, showing just how far a Slayer can bend before she breaks.Disclaimer:
BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon, and Alan Moore wrote V for Vendetta.Ratings:
03/2011, Repost: 09/2013Author's Note:
Loosely based on V for Vendetta. It takes a hard right during Becoming Part 1. This story is set in marshall law world, and all the atrocities that implies.
Vengeance taken from the Latin vindicare, meaning, "to set free, claim, avenge." This word had no meaning to me before my seventeenth birthday. But, many words weren't familiar to me then, words like betrayal, torture and hate. Oh, yes, hate was unknown to me in my strange, teenaged years. They weren't the idyllic years most teenagers had, to say the least. No, my life changed when I turned fifteen and became a Slayer, the Chosen One, an empowered fighter supposed to fight the evil that lurked in the dark. No one had prepared me for the evil that walked in the daylight, wearing familiar faces.
It's said that humans weren't meant to wield vengeance's deadly blade. When everything and everyone I had ever believed in abandoned me, I left my humanity behind. My words sound cryptic, for this I ask forgiveness. Read my story and decide for yourself; though it will change nothing, except perhaps your perspective of the thin line between human and demon.
I didn't know which way to turn or what to think anymore. Kendra, the other Slayer, had arrived and handed me a blessed sword to use against Angelus. Some strange little man named Whistler showed up in Giles' apartment, telling me that I could only depend on myself, and I had to know how to use the sword. As if that's a big problem, the pointy end goes into the evil vampire wearing Angel's face. Angel, I wondered where his soul went when Angelus showed up? No, I couldn't think about that anymore, that's what got Jenny killed; not to mention the others that he and Dru feasted on every night since Angel died. That's right; Angel's dead and Angelus killed him.
A sense of peace settled over me as I finally accepted that the man I loved was gone. I had loved him, not caring he was a vampire, but the demon that now inhabited his body wasn't the same man. Angel had died on my seventeenth birthday after we made love. The only happy note about that night was he left this Earth knowing love. Now, I have to lay his body to rest, so his soul will know peace. Willow wanted to re-soul him. I told her that I don't want her to and prayed she would listen. Whenever she or Xander got an idea, it was hard to change their minds. They were good friends, but sometimes not helping helped more.
While we went over last minute plans, a vampire rushed into the Library. "Angelus wants you to meet him where those children haunted that playground. You have ten minutes, Slayer." He ran out, knowing he wasn't my target.
Sword in hand, I started toward the door. "Kendra, you stay here and protect Giles and the others. I'll go see what he wants. Be ready in case he's just trying to lure me out."
"Be careful, Buffy," Kendra said in her heavy Jamaican accent.
She hurried to catch up with me, grabbing my arm. I stopped, turning to her and noticed a strange expression on her face. It wasn't fear or worry, more like regret. (If only I had paid more attention, ah but hindsight, it's always twenty-twenty.)
"Take Mr. Pointy with you, he always brings me luck." She gave me a soft, tentative smile.
I took the prized stake, knowing how much it meant to her. "Thanks, Kendra. I'll give it back once Angelus is dust in the wind. Take care of them while I'm gone."
A shadow passed over her eyes as she nodded. "I will, I promise."
Her words sent a strange shiver down my spine. I had already wasted too much time and had to run to meet Angelus' deadline. I nodded to Kendra, racing out the door. Her words and actions flew from my mind as I tried to prepare for the coming confrontation.
When I arrived at the playground, no one was there. The shiver I had felt earlier grew into a sinking feeling in my stomach. Spinning on my heels, I raced back to the school, praying under my breath with each step I took. My hands hit the Library's doors and I stopped in my tracks.
The tables and bookshelves lay on their sides; books were everywhere, as if they had been used as projectiles. I moved forward carefully, lifting the bookshelves, hoping to find someone, anyone, alive underneath. There were only traces of a battle and blood. Footsteps echoed in the hallway behind me. Lowering the bookshelf in my hands, I hid.
Principle Snyder led two policemen into the room. "Look at this mess. I know that Summers girl is responsible. Well, what are you waiting for? Go and arrest her," he snipped at them.
"Sir, we can't arrest a student because you don't like them. We need proof she's responsible for this vandalism," the officer answered patiently.
"What kind of policeman are you? I told you that she did it. All that girl does is cause trouble; mark my word somehow she's responsible. Who's going to clean up this mess?" They walked out, with Snyder still ranting about me and the other delinquents at the school.
I slid from my hiding place and quickly went out through the stacks. I had to get home and load up on weapons. Maybe I should swing by Giles' apartment to see if anyone made it out. No, Angelus wouldn't have left anyone behind; he's too thorough. The more time he had with them the longer he had to torture them.
My feet didn't seem to touch the ground as I raced home. I slammed open the door and took the stairs two at a time. My clothes were off before I crossed the threshold of my bedroom. Slaying clothes came into my hands as if I had willed them there. I went into auto pilot as I pulled weapons from my chest and loaded them into a carryall. Standing up, I threw the bag over my shoulder, took a deep breath, and prepared to leave my room when my Mom entered.
"Just where do you think you're going, young lady?" She placed her arms across her chest, waiting for an answer.
"Mom, I have to go do something that's really important. I promise I'll come back and tell you about it, but not now."
She blocked my way when I tried to walk by her. "Oh, no, you don't. You aren't going anywhere until you tell me exactly what's going on, and I mean all
I knew the look she was giving me. It was her version of Willow's resolve face. My shoulders sagged as I sighed, "Mom, I told you about this before, and you wouldn't believe me, please believe me now. I'm a Vampire Slayer. A really bad vampire took Willow, Xander and Giles, and if I don't go he'll kill them."
She grabbed my arms, holding them down around my waist when I tried to walk around her. "Oh, Buffy, I knew you were having trouble in school, but I never thought you'd revert back this far. Come in, Doctor," she called to someone in the hall.
I pulled away from her, swinging around to see who was behind me. A blonde woman with bright, intelligent blue eyes stepped inside, giving Mom a sympathetic smile before turning to me. Mom couldn't see her eyes as she faced me, so she didn't see the fanatical light that entered them. Something wasn't right with this Doctor.
"Mom, what're you doing? Why'd you call a doctor? There's nothing wrong with me. I have to leave. I'm sorry." I tried to gently shove my way through them, when I felt a needle prick my arm. "What? What did you do?" My arms and legs felt weak and heavy. I could hardly lift them.
"I gave you something to calm you down. You were getting agitated and I didn't want you to hurt yourself or anyone else. Your mother has concerns about your mental health, and I have to say I agree with her. You're going to come and stay at my clinic where I'm going to help you realize this world you've created isn't real."
Maggie Walsh smiled at Mom as she took a firm hold of my swaying body.
"No, Mom, don't do this, please. You don't understand. It's real. I'm not lying to you. Giles and the others are in trouble."
My voice sounded so distant, even to me. Then, she said those fateful words that started the Hell that became my life.
"Buffy, stop it. Giles and the others are downstairs. They came here looking for you after you left school with no explanation. Now, I've already packed your things and Dr. Walsh approved them. What you're wearing is fine, so come down and tell your friends good-bye. Hopefully, you'll be back in a few weeks, feeling better with no more nonsense making you act this way."
Mom took my other side, helping Dr. Walsh guide me down the stairs. My vision blurred and it took a concerted effort to focus. Whatever the good doctor had given me, it packed quite a wallop. There they stood, my friends, sister Slayer, and oh yes, don't forget my Watcher. They looked up to see me being practically carried down the stairs and had the gall to appear worried. My body no longer worked, but my mind did. Angelus didn't set me up; they did, along with my Mother, although I couldn't really blame her. She didn't know the truth. They however, did.
"Please leave." My words came out slurred, no doubt from the drugs. My mother softly clucked at my rudeness. Dr. Walsh swallowed a chuckle. Yes, she was definitely evil.
"Buffy, I had no choice, my superiors wanted to send you to a special school regarding your behavior. I heard about Dr. Walsh and asked perhaps if she wouldn't take you on as an alternative. Your friends agreed to help me once they understood the consequences. Kendra will stay while you're away, and you'll return in no time."
"There's always a choice. You've made yours and will have to live with it. Just remember that what goes around comes around."
"Uh, Buffster, you know we're still your friends, right? The three amigos," Xander asked.
He gave me that same, stupid smile while I stood there, weak as a kitten, about to be hauled off to an institution. I tried to hurl myself down the stairs at him; unfortunately, Dr. Walsh had very strong hands. I ended up flopping into the guardrail. It was worth it, though, just to watch Xander gap up at me with a comical fish-face.
"Get out, get out," I screamed, my voice growing in tempo as I drew in air faster and faster. The last thing I remembered was their shocked faces, then nothing.
I woke up to white walls and bright lights, which had my eyes watering from the glare. Lifting my hand to shade them, I found myself in a sterile room that resembled a fishbowl, with a glass wall and people staring in at the resident fish - me. They lined up watching me as if I were the zoo's newest exhibit. I counted six, and standing proudly at the center was none other than Dr. Maggie Walsh, head bitch. She gave me an evil smile that did nothing to put me at ease, which my guess was exactly her intention.
She swiped a card to open the glass door and entered the room, followed by an older man in a tweed suit. This man had Council written on him from the top of his gray, balding head to the bottom of his four hundred dollar shoes.
"Good evening, Miss Summers. I see you've finally decided to wake up."
Dr. Walsh leaned over to grab my wrist, taking my pulse. She wrote her findings down on the clipboard she carried.
"This esteemed gentleman is Mr. Quentin Travers, the Head of the Watcher's Council. I guess you could say he's our boss." Her blue eyes twinkled with a sinister mischief as she delivered that line. She watched for my reaction and I was too naive to know not to show any.
My breath hitched in my throat as I realized the implication. The set up was bigger than I had believed. Giles thought he had kept me out of the Council's reach, instead he handed me over to them on a silver platter. They wanted me here and knew that if my Watcher saw this as the lesser of two evils, he would choose it for me. Why would he think placing a Slayer in an institution was a good thing? What exactly did Maggie Walsh do here? I had a bad feeling that when I found out, I wasn't going to like it, not even one little bit.
"Miss Summers, your duties as a Slayer are no longer needed by the Council; however, your services are still required. Since you're unable to perform said duties regarding the removal of Angelus and his childer, you'll provide much needed data to this project. You're the property of the Council until your death, your final death." He didn't bother to look at me while he spoke and when he finished, he simply turned and left the room.
"What did he mean my final death?" I asked stupidly. (If I could go back, I think I would slap my own face.)
She gave me another smile, which I would soon learn to hate. "You'll learn soon enough. Today, you can rest. We start work tomorrow. You should rest while you can, not sure when you'll get to again."
Maggie Walsh was many things, a liar she was not. The days and nights became endless rounds of tests she liked to call them. I called them torture. The first day, I learned that the ultimate goal was to activate more Slayers by killing me. Maggie decided to recreate my first death, with the exception of the Master's bite. Young men dressed like soldiers held my head under water until my heart stopped. She drowned me, and then brought me back to life with CPR. My throat burned from the water I choked up as I gasped for air. Maggie rushed from the room only to return moments later with a frown on her face.
"Perhaps, she needs to stay dead longer. Let's try this one more time. Soldiers," she barked the order at the men, who immediately grabbed my arms, dragging me back toward the water tank.
I struggled, pulling as hard as I could, knowing how futile it was, but I couldn't help it. "It won't work. Don't you get it, one activation per Slayer?"
The soldiers' hands pressed into my flesh until I felt their imprint bruise the skin. My strength hadn't returned and I wondered if it ever would. Even as this thought skittered across my mind, that same strange rush I felt as I went to kill the Master came over me. The hair on my neck stood on end; goose bumps raced over my skin as the power surged inside my body. It reinforced it, giving even more strength to the tensile muscles and bones.
My head fell to my chest as I allowed my body to go limp, catching the soldiers off guard; they almost dropped me and scrambled to grab me before I hit the floor. That's when I went into action. Squatting low and using the floor as a springboard, I pushed off, coming straight up into a full out splits. It caught both men directly under the chin, knocking their heads and them backward. I threw my hands up and forward, pulling my upper body down into a forward tuck while I kicked my feet up and over my head. I continued into a forward layout, which I followed with several full roundups that ended at the door. Maggie stood between freedom and me. Her mouth gaped open and I quickly closed it for her with a hard punch in the jaw. She went down - hard. Have to say, it was the first time I had smiled in days. I tore the door open and ran for it.
Unfortunately, I didn't get far. The place they brought me to was a labyrinth of hallways and bright lights. I got through three, maybe four, when loud sirens went off and soldiers with guns filled every hallway. The last one I ran down scared me more than the soldiers following me did. In rooms much smaller than mine, I saw vampires, a werewolf and other demons I couldn't name. They howled and banged on the glass as I ran by. The scariest part was that they begged me to kill them, to set them free. Fear, real fear, darker than any I had ever known before settled deep in my gut. Sweat broke out on my brow and between my shoulders. If the demons I fought wanted me to kill them to escape this place, what did that mean for me?
Too late, I realized my mistake. I left myself with nowhere to run and little room to fight. The soldiers came at me with their guns pointed and ready to fire. They aimed them with their fingers poised on the trigger. The commander stepped away from the others, placing his palms up, in a calming gesture. He had a farmer boy look about him, with an honest face, blue eyes and a wide smile.
"Calm down, we aren't going to hurt you. We just have to take you back to your room. Everyone here has to obey orders. The Council gives you your orders, and Dr. Walsh gives us ours. That's just the way it is. You understand, don't you? You don't want to cause any problems. People get hurt that way, and I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt," he said in a soft voice.
He walked toward me slowly, as if I was a wild animal. I guess from his point of view, I was. He stepped closer and I grabbed him, spinning him back around with my hand at his throat. I pressed my thumb against his carotid artery while my forefinger pinched into the back of his neck. With the lightest pressure, I could sever his jugular before his team could reach him; from how still his body went, he understood this. He quickly motioned for them to stand down.
"Tell them to leave and I'll let you go."
"I can't do that."
I increased the pressure on his neck. His heartbeat increased under my thumb. I had already noticed it had a strange rhythm, now it raced along, sounding ready to pop straight from his chest. I didn't want to hurt him, but would if left with no other choice. He chose this job and went along with what went on here. I only wanted to leave. The only thing I had learned that day was that I had to stop feeling. While I listened to his heart race and worried over hurting him, he stabbed my leg with a syringe and my hard won strength was no more.
Maggie learned her lesson and never underestimated me again. She told the Council the disappointing news that I couldn't activate any more Slayers. They handed me over to her with blank check approval to do with me as she pleased. They had one caveat; I could never leave this place, unless it was in a body bag. She never tired of telling me this. After a particularly grueling test, she'd stroke my hair then whisper in my ear that she'd never tire of her blank check
The days melted together and I had no way of telling one from the other. The lights never dimmed in my bright, white Hell. They let me sleep an hour, two, or a day. My body functioned by rote. I ate, walked, ran, fought, died, returned, bled, only to repeat. Every soldier kept a loaded gun with the ever-hateful drug at his side. Maggie performed her special tests first with the drug, then without. She took great joy in comparing the results. She analyzed my blood, bone marrow, spinal fluid and every other conceivable sample, even the fluid from my eyes. She wanted to create a Slayer using my DNA, since my death didn't do the trick.
That's when the girls arrived. Young girls ranging in age from twelve to fifteen. They kept their eyes glued to the floor and obeyed every command given by the hard-faced men that stood beside them. Watchers. The thrice-damned Council gathered Potentials for Maggie to use as test subjects.
The oldest Watcher stepped forward, dragging his Potential by the arm. He pulled her up to the table where I lay after a particularly brutal test day. The poor girl's eyes grew wide with fear.
"See this pathetic creature. This is what happens to Slayers that don't fulfill their duty to the Council. She had the potential to become a great Slayer, but she forgot her place and her duty. Learn from her mistakes. Dr. Walsh is going to run some tests while you are here. The Council expects you to obey her as if she were your Watcher. We will receive daily reports on your progress; don't disappoint us, girls." He allowed his words to hang heavy in the air, before waving a hand toward me. "You can see what happens when we are disappointed."
The youngest girl, barely twelve years old, bit her lower lip as she tried not to cry. Her Watcher gave her a hard look before he left without a word. The other Watchers left after exchanging pleasantries with Maggie. I lay there, never feeling more helpless than at that moment. These were my sisters, the ones I'm supposed to protect from the true monsters - Maggie and the Council. Yet, I lay here, a broken symbol of what they would become should they happen to stray from the path chosen for them. Anger, hot and heavy, surged through my body from deep within my soul. I knew why Maggie changed the routine today. Today's testing was more brutal than it had ever been in the past however long I'd been here. It also wasn't a drug day. She had drugged me last time. She reentered the room, giving me that knowing smile, the one I hated almost as much as I hated her, almost.
"Girls, please come with me and I'll show you to your rooms. I'm sure you'll find them comfortable. Don't worry, everything will turn out fine. You'll feel better than ever by the time your Watchers return, and they'll be so proud of you."
I heard her saccharine sweet voice as she went down the hall, cajoling the Potentials to do what she wanted. The anger continued to grow and build, until I thought my head might explode. I felt it then. It was small, but it was there. That spark, that rush, there just beneath the surface, waiting for me to call it forward, to release it. It hungered for release as much as I did. I pulled against the restraints and felt them give just a little. Lying back down, I closed my eyes to think about what I had learned.
Maggie returned to gloat about the girls. I tuned her out, much as I always did. She noticed I wasn't listening and called the guards to take me back to my room.
I heard them that night, crying in their rooms. They were prisoners, the same as me. The anger returned, growing brighter, louder in my head, and flushed the remaining drugs from my system.
Sitting up in bed, I closed my ears to the sounds around me. The drugs stopped working when they revived me and when I got angry enough to override anything else. What took over? What happened to fight the drugs? Is it the Slayer, me or us working together? Think, damn it, there has to be a way to use this. I wanted to pace my room to help me think, but knew it would draw too much attention. My Slayer side heals my injuries, and being a natural predator would it eventually start trying to fight the drugs the same way it fights a demon? I wonder if it's trying to up my immune system, and my anger triggers it to work faster. The drugs don't seem to last as long. Maggie hasn't noticed, then again, there really isn't a reason she should. How long will it take for me to become immune? Will I last that long? Will the girls? More importantly, will Maggie's latest scheme work? Can she turn them into Slayers using my DNA? What will that mean?
I watched the youngest, because it was easiest. She became my lodestone, my focus. I hoped to, at the very least, live long enough to rescue her and myself. This was my last lesson to learn, one that Maggie burned into my memory. There was no room for emotional links. The mission must come first.
Her name was Andrea. She had large brown eyes that took up most of her small face. The Potentials guarded her from the unwanted advances the soldiers gave the girls late at night. Their muffled whimpers echoed down the hallways adjacent to my room.
Maggie had to know what her boys were doing. She knew everything that went on here, nothing occurred without her blessing. I watched her send specific soldiers after certain girls. The girls returned with terror written across their faces. Yes, Maggie knew what her boys did in the dark to these helpless little girls, girls taken from their parents and brought up by the Council. They knew no other life, except to obey.
The girls didn't fare well over the weeks and months. They received daily doses from Maggie, the wonder elixir she had created from me. Then, she would force them to fight each other, the soldiers, me, the vampires and demons. Within the first few months, two girls died. Maggie took her anger out on me, taking even more samples. She kept repeating that I was the key. The cycle restarted numerous times, sometimes with the same results or slightly different ones.
Amid these horrible conditions, the one torture I hadn't faced decided to show itself. I had slept for about an hour when I heard the keycard slide through the automatic lock. Strangely, only one set of footsteps neared my bed. I peaked out through my eyelashes to find the Commander's hand stretching toward my mouth.
My hands automatically pushed his away as I scooted to the bed's farthest corner. "Go away. You're not supposed to be here," I hissed at him angrily. The hate I felt for him showed in my eyes. My Mom used to tell me that when I got angry they flared a deep green. I imagined they were blazing the deepest, darkest green about now.
"Aw, don't be that way, Buffy. You're bound to be lonely. I know I am. We hardly ever get to leave here and you haven't had any manly attention in, what is it now?" He stopped, cocking his head to the side, while he added the time. "Must be going on about, what, two years? Can't tell me that a girl with a body like yours doesn't have wants that need filling." He gave me a cocky smile. "I'm just the man to do it."
He grabbed my ankle, pulling me across the bed toward him. I kicked out at him, catching him in the gut. He doubled over with a loud 'oomph' before standing back up with a hard glint in his eyes. His large hands clamped around my ankles, then he knocked them, and would for several more hours, or so he thought.
I felt him tear away my flimsy pants and top. He roughly worked to get his pants off, before entering me with the finesse of a goat. It hurt more than I thought it would, but I refused to cry. I wouldn't give him or Maggie the satisfaction. I turned toward the ceiling camera and gave Maggie back her own malicious smile. I knew I'd pay for it. It didn't matter, because I had decided at the moment that I'd avenge myself and the others for what they'd done to us.
Vengeance, it rolled off the tongue. There were so many words for it. Avenge. Revenge. Blood Feud. Make Right. Vindicate. Revenge. Vendetta. They all came back to the same thing. The guilty would pay for their crimes, and I swore I would be the one that made that so.