Prologue & Chapter One
The Payday Bluff AN: Hey there all readers I have few things to say. English is not my first or second language and although I study it at Uni my written English is still far from desired. Although I have few fics in progress, which I should be working on, but in my defense I have been attacked by a rabid plot bunny and didn’t let go till I put it on a paper. I have first two chapters written and I am working on the third. This fic will have roughly around ten chapters. It has been ages since I have watched Buffy and it was in Czech dub so there might be a lot of errors in the names spelling etc… This will be a heavy AU for season Four: featuring Non witch Willow. Angel is dead, Xander who left scoobies , Faith who didn’t break bad and was more than less adopted by both Summers plus more Jerk Gilles. Pairings: Willow/OZ Buffy/Tara Faith/??? Cheers from Noir Detective And now the whole story was cleaned by my awesome beta CECILE. Thank you for your work my friend. Disclaimer: Not mine not by a longshot Prologue
The clown slowly wove his way towards the First National Bank of California in Sunnydale. He stopped across the street and looked at the bank; seemingly in deep thought and observing people enter.
He was a short and slightly overweight fellow, dressed in a bright red slightly oversized suit, over a purple vest and tie. His oversized white shoes shone in the morning light. Atop his bright green mop of curly hair, sat a bright blue cylinder with red bow. His face was covered in a thick layer of white make-up, effectively hiding his true face and creating an illusion of a smile. Underneath, his expression was as cold as the wind from Siberia. Within his gloved hand nestled long strings attached to a dozen colorful balloon afloat above him.
He continued to calmly observe as a guard came out of the bank. He smiled brightly giving the guard a cheerful wave. The guard waved back and started to raise the bank’s flag. Once done, the guard returned inside.
The clown muttered to himself. “Time for work.” Chapter One A Week earlier
Buffy sat on a bench before the hospital’s examination room. She insisted that her mother be properly examined after their nasty encounter with a vampire during the Cruciamentum test. She was soon joined by her adopted sister-slayer--Faith.
Faith came to her life a year ago after she returned from LA where she ran away to after slaying Angelus. In the subsequent week, the brunette slayer became her sister in all but blood. Even her mother accepted Faith into the family and gave her stability. That fact elicited from her sister-slayer a nearly fanatical loyalty for the Summers’ clan. She had to be restrained by Buffy from going after Giles after hearing what happened. It was basically Giles’ fault that Buffy started losing her powers. Nearly his fault that their mother got bitten by a vampire during the test. Although the watcher had a change of heart and helped them in the end, he had irrevocably lost their trust.
Faith left to get coffee for the both of them. Then Buffy overheard her mom’s doctor saying her mother needed more tests to be done, to determine what was causing her headaches lately. She heard further that the patient’s insurance would not cover such examination procedures including possible treatments. It became abundantly clear to her then that the good doctor suspected her mother might indeed have a brain tumor.
Buffy knew that things weren’t ideal in the art market lately and that Joyce never mentioned they had been barely making ends meet. From what her mother did say to the doctor, she gathered things might be even worse.
Buffy felt her heart clench and her insides turn cold. One thing was clear--she needed money and fast. Her father Hank was out of question--he wasn’t willing to pay even the basic support for his daughter. She sighed and leaned her head against her hands. She would have to speak to Giles. If the watcher really wanted redemption then he would have to help. If not she would have to talk to Willow and Oz or maybe even Tara. She saw Faith approaching laden with coffee and thought, ‘No, Faith had enough on her own plate right now. She didn’t need to worry that her adoptive mother might be seriously ill.’
She schooled her features to be cheerful and overtly grateful for the coffee.
The next day after school found Buffy sitting in the Espresso Pump sipping latte, alone with her thoughts. She should have known that asking Giles for money was going to be a bad idea. After an hour of listening to his lame excuses, to his whining, bitching and evading any responsibilities, from him and the Watcher’s Council for her mother’s health issues or any possible financial help, she had had enough. In hindsight, she should have expected such a reaction from Giles.
She went and talked to Willow. Her friend promised to help as much she can, even offered all of her savings and what was left of her monthly allowance. Willow’s boyfriend Oz had even less money to spare, but still he made the same offer. Buffy politely declined, saying she couldn’t take all of their money knowing that it wouldn’t still make a dent on the sum she needed.
Willow then suggested contacting Xander and that if he could talk to his girlfriend Cordelia’s parents. Buffy flat out refused. Willow wasn’t surprised since Xander started distancing himself from the Scoobies after the whole Angelus-fiasco. Then he started dating Cordelia. Now, he wasn’t even helping with slaying or coming to Scooby meetings.
Tara made the same offer of help. Buffy felt heartened by that, but declined knowing that Tara was living from her university stipend and needed every cent she can scrounge up. Buffy smiled softly as she fondly remembered her first meeting with the blonde Wicca last summer. Tara had just arrived in Sunnydale and was looking for cheaper accommodations than the dorms. During one of her ventures, she stayed too long after sundown and was ambushed by several vamps. They cornered her. When she thought she was a goner, Buffy came dusting them. Soon after, the slayer had to deal with a nearly hysterical witch on the brink of a mental breakdown. Tara overheard one of the vamps calling her savior The Slayer. The Wiccan witch mistook that this means she too would be slain by the slayer after dealing with the vamps. Buffy managed to calm her down. It didn’t take long for the Scoobies to get a new resident witch and Willow a new housemate. Willow’s parents at the time were on one of their rare visits home at Sunnydale and heard the highly edited version of Tara’s life. They offered Tara a rent-free room in their house on the condition that she would look out for their daughter.
Buffy looked glumly into her coffee mug searching for inspiration, when it came in the form of two First National Bank of California employees seated in the adjacent booth chatting about work. She didn’t listen closely to their ramblings at first, until one of them said, “This Friday shift is gonna be a bitch!”
“I heard ya Johnny! With all the paychecks for the truck drivers, and I heard that the mayor has scheduled a big withdrawal on a Friday afternoon. He wanted his money in cash. In cash, “snorted the other one. ”I do get why truck drivers would want their money in cash; but I can’t imagine why the mayor wanted such a large withdrawal in cash as well. They would be bringing the cash in on Friday morning so we have very little time to sort it out. Can you imagine how much cash we will have to work with?!”
“I wish I could get my hands on all of that money…” said the first one wistfully and added, “Man, can you imagine if there was a robbery? You wouldn’t have to work for another day in your life!”
Said the man named Johnny, “Yeah, but first you would have to pull-off a job like that!” Both of them laughed.
Buffy sat there dumbstruck for a few seconds. A plan began to form in her head. She quickly left the Espresso pump and headed home, inattentive to her surroundings, thinking deeply as her plan started to morph into a more cohesive form. When she arrived home, she only muttered hello to her mother and Faith in the living room. The latter shockingly enough, was reading a book. She didn’t even snarked at this, instead headed straight to her room. Once inside she locked herself, went to her wardrobe and opened the bottom drawer. She dug through it, and on the bottom found the object she was seeking. It was carefully wrapped in an old sweatshirt. Slowly unwrapping the cloth, she held a big black revolver inscribed with a ‘Python .357 Magnum’ on its six-inch sized barrel. Buffy deftly opened its cylinder and carefully pulled one bullet out looking at it contemplating what happened six weeks earlier: Buffy was finishing her usual patrol and was preparing to head home when a vampire jumped from the shadows of an alley. Unfortunately for him, he was greeted with a roundhouse kick in the face. When he picked himself up off the ground, he surprisingly didn’t engage immediately but instead pulled a big gun from his pocket and with a battle cry “You bitch, you’ll pay for that!” Before he could aim, Buffy slapped the gun from his grasp and drove her stake home. When the dust and the sneezing fit settled, all that was left was a big ass gun on the ground. Buffy didn’t know where the impulse to take the weapon home with her came from, nevertheless she took it. Once home, she wrapped it in her old sweatshirt and hid it in the bottom of her drawer.
Buffy shook her head and slotted the bullet back into its place snapping the cylinder shut. She returned the gun into its hiding place, went to her desk pulling a notebook out and started putting down ideas on paper. After an hour of diligent working, she placed her notes in her pocket. She needed another perspective. She knew of only one place where she could get it, but before that she needed to go upstairs in the attic to check on a few things.
The attic was overly dusty and really needed cleaning Buffy absentmindedly noted. She went to an antique wardrobe tucked in the farthest corner of the room. Inside were things her mother still hadn’t sorted out or thrown away. Among these was a hideous red clown suit with accessories. Hank bought the costume for a work masquerade a year before he left them. She was pleased to find that it was still intact and quite usable.
She placed the items in an empty box tucked under her bed. After looking at the time, she surmised she had a good three hours till she needed to go on patrol. She stopped in the living room to tell her mother and Faith she would be going out to Willow’s to check on things from school; and that once Faith heads out, to drop by for their patrol together. She practically ran out the door after saying her goodbyes. Rosenberg residence
A few minutes later, Buffy impatiently knocked at Willow’s door. The redhead hacker opened up and saw an uncharacteristically serious Buffy saying in one breath, “Wills, I need to speak to you and Tara about mom’s situation privately. Is she here and has Oz left?”
“Well yeah, but Tara wanted to study in her room. I can call her down. Yes Oz left earlier today with the Dingoes for a gig. “ She moved aside to let Buffy in. Her friend settled on a sofa in the living room. Willow called Tara. They sat in armchairs and patiently waited for Buffy to start.
Willow observed as her friend gathered her thoughts, pulling a notepad from her pocket. She started to shuffle it in her hands then took a deep breath.
“Wills, Tara I know this came out of the blue but the fact was I need cash fast and I found a way to have it.“ Buffy stood and started pacing in front of them. “I have considered all possibilities and I hadn’t much choice as I am out of options. I can’t get money now by any legal way. I formed a plan and my reasons for telling you this were threefold: 1.) I needed some feedback from a different perspective, 2.) I needed to eliminate all possible mistakes and 3.) I might need assistance from you two to pull it off. If you refuse to participate at any rate, I won’t hold it against you. Just…just hear me out.”
Willow and Tara exchanged glances. Whatever Buffy was planning, it sounded something serious. Willow looked at a clearly nervous Buffy and gently said, “Buffy, you are our friend and friends help each other. Whatever you’ve planned, we will help. God knew you have helped us countless times. So tell us, we’ll help you in every way possible.” Her statement was met with an encouraging nod from Tara.
Buffy sighed in relief and walked over the coffee table. She gently patted Willow’s shoulder and squatted between the armchairs, gently pulling in her two friends closer. She whispered, “ I planned to rob a bank this Friday. So are you two, like in?”
Willow and Tara’s eyes widened as Buffy dropped the proverbial bomb on them. The redhead yelled, “Seriously? Please tell me you said what I think you said! Oh God please be joking!”
After Buffy gave them a crooked smile, the severity of the situation dawned on them both. Tara stuttered, “Surely, you can’t be serious?”
Buffy ruefully nodded. “Yes I am and don’t call me Shirley! I have a plan! I've got a plan so cunning, you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel!” she punned.
Both Tara and Willow gaped at her.
“So are you two in?” she asked crookedly smiling, finding both of their expressions funny.
The two exchanged glances before they nodded.
Buffy smiled and opened her notepad, spreading several sheets of paper on the coffee table and started explaining her plan to her slightly shocked friends.
Willow started realizing that Buffy was not only planning a cunning bank robbery, but that she was actually going to carry it out. What was worse was she thought her friend could pull it off. The redhead stared down on the papers detailing her friend’s plan. A part of her thought Buffy was even more cunning or a bigger schemer than they knew. She looked at Tara who slowly nodded to her. “Okay Buff this plan is crazy, let me tell you that. That said, it’s also brilliant and we might be able to pull it off. So what do you need from me?”
Buffy grinned and hugged her friend. “Thanks Wills. I knew I could count on you! Now I need you to hack into the city’s database and acquire bank plans and all security details like the number and position of cameras. All you can find. Can you do this?”
Buffy turned to Tara silently asking if she was willing to play any significant part in the robbery. Buffy knew that Tara’s agreement would be crucial for her plan to succeed. The Wiccan looked like she was fighting an inner battle with her conscience, but one look at Buffy’s pleading face and she gave a decisive nod. Buffy smiled softly and gratefully at her, taking both her hands bringing the feeling of having butterflies in her stomach.
“Tara, your part will be even more important…”