Title: Trial of the Century [A Hank Summers Joint] Chap 1 of 6.
Author: Lawrence Payne
Timeline: Season 7. Post Chosen [7x22]
Cast: Hank, Joyce, Buffy, & Dawn Summers, Lilah Morgan, guest appearance by Drusilla, and various new characters.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. A whole slew of other people own the core characters and the main concept. The new ones are mine.
Comments: Constructive feedback is always appreciated. :)
FYI: [[ ]] is used to indicate internal thought, words said out loud use regular " ".
Summary: Hank Summers stands trial for his life.
Author Notes: This was a long time coming, but this story is finally finished. Special thanks goes to Dee for her tremendous help and nothing but love to the woman who gave me the idea, my beautiful and intelligent friend Kelly.
Chapter 1: THE ATTACK
9:23 pm PCT. San Diego, California. The business district.
Hank Summers walked through the large glass double doors of the Metropolitan Towers building and proceeded down 8th Street. A crescent moon and two rows of colonial-style streetlamps illuminated the street. The cold night air blew against his custom-fitted, designer overcoat as he headed toward the downtown parking deck, and eventually, his car. He stopped at the corner of 8th and Logan and waited for the traffic light to change. He wondered why he bothered. The street was empty. No cars, no people, no signs of life whatsoever. That was not unusual. All of the finance firms and trade-houses shut down at 6. After 7 PM, the financial district became a ghost town.
While he waited for the light to change, he searched the pockets of his coat. He was searching for something he knew he was not going to find. His cigarettes. He knew he threw them out two days ago, the day he decided to quit smoking, but he looked anyway.
[[Damn idiots in Marketing,]] Hank thought to himself. [[The numbers for last quarter clearly show a decline in U.S. sales but they spend 2 hours pointing fingers at us. This is the third time this week I won't get home until after 10.]] He set his briefcase on the ground and leaned against a telephone pole while he waited for the light to change. [[This is what Joyce and I use to fight about all the time, me working too much.]] Hank remembered the seeming endless hours of yelling and arguing with his deceased ex-wife. [[My work, her work, the girls' education, the mortgage; that woman could start a fight about anything. It got to the point where we couldn't say two words to each other without yelling.]] As Hank reflected on those days, he discovered, oddly enough, that he actually missed them. [[Hey! It's better than coming home to an empty house,]] he reflected. [[Tiff is probably at work already; Mike is still in Honk Kong; and Charlie's closes at 9. So it looks like I dine alone tonight. Again.]] The thought of spending another night eating microwave lasagna on the couch alone sent a wave of depression through his body. Hank renewed his search for the pack of cigarettes he knew he would not find. "Man!" he said out loud, "I picked a hell of a day to quit smoking."
The light changed. Hank picked up his briefcase and continued down 8th Street. He glanced up at the digital CitiCorp Bank sign on the opposite side of the road. The date on the rotating display made him smile. Today was Buffy's birthday. His mind flashed back to her fifth birthday party fifteen years ago.
It was a great party. He and Joyce rented a pony for the kids to ride. It was the first time he sprang for a custom-made cake. A 3-foot by 21/2-foot chocolate marble cake shaped like a number 5, with only one candle in the center. He used only one candle so it would be easy for her to blow out. It was her 'So All Your Wishes Are Sure To Come True' candle.
It was also the year Hank got his daughter the perfect present, a sparkling *princess* tiara with rhinestones and glass beads. Buffy saw it in the window of a bridal shop a week earlier, and of course, she had to have it right then and there. Luckily, Joyce was able to distract her by cooing over some dress in the window of another shop. Hank snuck away and bought it when the girls were trying on clothes in the changing room. [[That was quite a sight,]] Hank recalled. [[Buffy looked so beautiful riding that pony with her little tiara on. My perfect little princess!]]
It was more than just a perfect party; it was a perfect time in Hank's life. Buffy was starting kindergarten, his marriage was going great, and his promotion to management had just been confirmed. Joyce studied Art History at home while he concentrated on his career. [[We were even thinking about having another baby. A year later, we had Dawn. Oohh! Those were the days!]] Hank reminisced. [[A loving wife, two beautiful little girls, and a great new job.]] Hank made a conscious effort to avoid thinking about how it all went wrong. Instead, he focused on the happy memories. [[Where DOES the time go?]]
Hank's reminiscing sparked a more recent memory. [[Time?]] he recalled. The thought stopped him in his tracks. [[TIME!... DAMN IT! I was suppose to FedEx Buffy's present yesterday after work! Even if I do it now it won't get there in time.]] He rubbed his temple with his right hand. [[Arrgghh! How the hell did I forget that?]] His mind wandered back to yesterday. [[The board meeting with the Motorola execs, the conference with the bank, the luncheon.... Clare? CLARE!!]] he suddenly remembered. [[I told Clare to handle the shipping. She sent it on time. I know she did.]] Clare was Hank's very reliable, and very plain, secretary. [[Good old Clare! What would I do without her?]]
Hank resumed his walk to his car. Just then, he was startled out of his stupor by the sound of a distant voice.
"Lost him," a feminine voice said. It came from out of nowhere. The voice was soft, little more than a whisper, and almost ethereal.
"Hello," he called out. "Anyone there?" Hank did a 360-degree search. No one was in sight. The street was well lit with few shadows. He would have seen anyone in the area.
"Lost my Spike, I have." The voice was a little stronger this time, but Hank was still barely able to make it out.
[[There it is again!]] Hank wondered as he searched the empty street a second time, [[That is definitely a woman's voice. But where is it coming from?]]
"Not lost. Stolen."
Hank realized that the mysterious voice was close. Very close. Only a few feet away. In fact, it was right behind him. Hank did a quick 180. He found himself face to face with a woman wearing a long black trench coat and black boots. "What?"
"Have you ever lost something? Something you cared for?" the mysterious woman asked, "I did. I lost my one true love."
"Really?" Hank asked, after he gave the mysterious lady a once over. He liked what he saw. He guessed from her accent that she was English. She was about 5' 5", maybe 5' 8" with pale skin, beautiful blue eyes, and jet-black hair that came down just pass her shoulders. She had a nice body too. Her slim figure was evident even with the long coat. [[Tall, but not too tall. A dancer. Maybe a model,]] he speculated. [[Just my type.]] Hank was in full pickup mode now. He flashed his guest a charming smile. He did a subconscious fix of his hair with his right hand and sucked in his stomach a little. [[Tonight might not be so lonely after all.]]
"Our love was eternal," the mystery woman stated. "Before SHE came. Came and stole my Spike. Plucked his heart like a pretty little rose. My precious flower. My Spike. Gone. But roses have thorns they do. Ugly, nasty, prickly, little thorns. Thorns that hurt, and scratch, and claw at your skin. Makes you bleed, love does. Bleed and hurt. Hurts in your heart."
"Look, maybe we could talk about this over a drink. There's a bar about a block from here. Not too noisy, not too crowded, nice atmosphere, - you'll like it."
"What a sweet thing you are," she purred. She curled up next to him like a cat. She flashed a wicked smile as she began to rub his chest with her right hand and encircled his waist with her left. "You'll be a yummy treat."
[[This chick maybe a little crazy,]] Hank thought. [[But with a body like that, she is GUARANTEED to be a wild ride.]]
"You know, you still haven't told me your name," Hank said as he put his arm around her waist.
That was the moment Hank noticed the two men behind him. Before he could turn to face them, both men grabbed him by the arms and lifted him off the ground. "Hey!" he protested, but the men didn't say a word. He fought to free himself, but they were much stronger than him. They carried Hank into a narrow, and surprisingly clean, alley between the buildings with the mystery woman in tow.
Hank did not get a good look at the men when they grabbed him, but there was a large outdoor safety light in the alley. Both guys were big. They were at least 6 feet tall, with well-defined muscles and strong forearms. Both of the men wore long black coats like the mystery woman's. The one on his right had a gray muscle shirt on underneath his coat while the one on the left wore a blue dress shirt.
Hank saw their faces for the first time. He wished he had not. Something was ...wrong... with both of their faces. Both men had ugly dark bumps all over their cheeks and foreheads, small yellow eyes, and fanged teeth. Hank was officially scared now.
"I smell fear," the mystery woman said in an ominous tone. Hank returned his attention to her. "It's sweet... like little cherries." She slowly untied the knot in his tie. "The Slayer is going to pay," she said while she removed his tie. Once she pulled the tie off his neck, she ripped the collar of his shirt apart with one quick pull. "Pay for leaving me all alone." Hank's neck was fully exposed now. The mystery woman traced her index finger along his jugular line. "She took my Mummy and Daddy, and now my Spike. It's only fair I take hers."
"Look!" Hank pleaded. "My wallet is in my back pocket. I don't have much cash on me but you can have my credit cards. I'll give you the PINs to all of them. OK lady?! Just let me go! Please!!"
"My name is Drusilla," she stated.
"Please, Drusilla. Just take my wallet. I won't tell a soul."
"You're right love," Drusilla stated coldly. Hank watched in horror as her face changed from the soft, narrow features she had a second ago, into a gruesome demonic visage of yellow eyes, bumps, and razor sharp teeth that matched her two goons. "You won't tell a soul."
Drusilla grabbed Hank by his hair and pulled him toward her with inhuman strength, forcing his head into his shoulder and exposing his neck even further.
"This is for the Slayer," she whispered in his ear just before she bit deep into his neck. Hank let out a pain-filled scream as her teeth ripped into his flesh. He tried to fight back, but it was no use. Her grip was like an iron vice. Drusilla's slender frame hid a deceptively strong body.
Time seemed to stop as Drusilla began to suck the blood from Hank's body. Hank felt his life being slowly drained out of him. His body got weaker and weaker with every passing millisecond. His eyes started to glaze over and his vision became blurry.
[[This is it!]] Hank feared, [[My God, this is really it! I'm gonna die! I'm really gonna die!! This is crazy! I can't die now! Not here!! Not now!! I Don't Want To Die!! PLEASE GOD DON'T LET ME DIE!!!]]
Just as Hank was about pass out, he heard a new female voice yell something. He could not make it out, his own screams masked the sound, but he did hear enough of it to know that it sounded familiar somehow. Whoever she was, she saved what little life Hank had left. Drusilla stopped draining him and turned to face the new arrival. The two goons released his arms. Hank was dropped face first onto the pavement.
Hank's eyes were not working too well, but his ears were. As he lay on the ground with his face to the concrete, he heard what sounded like an intense fistfight going on in the alley. After a few minutes of fighting, he heard two loud screaming noises --one right after the other. The clean alley suddenly became dirty as a strong smell of dust filled the air. Hank was able to fight the pain and grogginess just enough to lift his head. Through blurry eyes he saw his potential killer fighting with a petite blonde woman. "Buff... yyy...?" was all Hank was able to utter before darkness overtook him.
"All Rise," the voice boomed. It was a little louder this time then the first.
"ALL RISE!!" the unknown voice commanded in an angry shout. Hank lifted his head with surprising ease. All the pain and weakness he felt just seconds ago were gone, replaced by a feeling of perfect health. For the second time today, Hank found himself searching for the origin of yet another mysterious voice. He discovered that he was still in the alley where he was attacked, but everyone was gone; the alley was deserted.
"Get up," a different male voice to Hank's left said.
"You have to get up," the man said. Whoever he was, he was now standing next to Hank. "Or you risk a summary judgment against you."
"Yes. Judgment. If you don't stand up and face them right now, the Tribunal will hand down a summary ruling against you and you will die."
The unknown man looked skyward and said to no one, "Why do I always have to say everything twice?" He turned back to Hank, "Yes. Die. Now get off the ground."
Hank Summers flopped his head on the pavement as he let out a long exhale.
"I picked a hell of a day to quit smoking."
End Chapter 1