Title: Payback's a Bitch (and a Bastard and Another Bitch)
Rating: Probably R for extreme violence and maybe because of implied sexual relationships. Definitely nothing explicit. At least in this story.
Disclaimer: All of the really good characters belong to Crack-Head Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc., I'm just borrowing them for a while. There is no intent to profit from this. Only the story is mine, and even that is negotiable.
Category: C/F/X-ship and various other relationships and friendships mentioned and noted.
Summary: The Scoobies decided to strike back against the people responsible for Buffy's death and Willow's involuntary exile.
Time frame: Completely alternate Buffy-verse, branching off after S2's 'What's My Line, Parts I and II.'
Character Bashing: None. At least in my opinion.
Author's (Rather Extensive) Notes: In this AU, Buffy was killed by the third assassin from the Order of Teraka, along with four other students, and Snyder, who were 'collateral damage' when the fake policewoman opened up on Buffy with an Uzi during the career fair at school. The assassin was taken out by Xander when he tackled her and she was accidentally shot with her own weapon - nine times. A stray bullet struck Willow in the head, causing obvious and extensive damage and, desperate to save her, Oz bit her and infected her with his lycanthropy, counting on the supernatural healing ability to save her. It did, but she is now a werewolf, and needs to be confined, like Oz, during the three nights of the full moon. Although his actions saved Willow, Oz is still in deep shit with both Xander and Giles. Willow freaked to the max about becoming a werewolf, although she was grateful to Oz for saving her life, and started researching ways of taming the inner beast as a way of coping. The additional stress of her lunar changes was making her bi-polar, and she was alternately depressed or maniacally happy. She finally located a temple in Tibet that was credited with teaching methods of controlling the inner beast and she and Oz left for there several months earlier, amid lots of tears and smiles, with her promise to return to help them as soon as she had mastered her inner beast.
Angel/Angelus, Spike and Drusilla are all dust for various reasons that I might eventually get around to explaining, if I ever write a prequel to this. Kendra was Called and died before making it to Sunnydale, and Faith was then Called, and her Watcher was killed by Kakistos, leaving her to travel across the country to Sunnydale. Faith arrived in Sunnydale with Kakistos pursuing her, just as in the Joss-verse, but with the help of the Scoobies managed to quickly destroy him and his minions.
After her scare by the bug-guy and Buffy's death, Cordy decided she needed to learn how to protect herself from Hellmouth-y dangers in some manner and became Jenny's apprentice, and she, Jenny and Amy have formed a triad of witches for greater power for them all.
After the bad guys were all dusted, the Scooby Gang v.2 was sitting around talking and decided that whoever put Spike in touch with the Order was just as guilty as the others, and they decided to find out who it was who arranged things, so that they can then go after them. Willy pointed them towards Wolfram and Hart and the Gang has headed to sunny L.A. to investigate the truth of Willy's claims. Xander, Cordy, Giles, Jenny and Amy are all intent on payback for the deaths of their friends, and Faith is all in favor of taking out any people who help kill Slayers in any manner, so she's got no problem whatsoever in preemptive strikes.
Some of Giles' pre-Watcher contacts provided him with extensive information on W&H and their involvement in the local demonic underworld, so they are completely certain that they are not dealing with any misguided do-gooders who were fooled by some bad guys.
Title: Payback's a Bitch (and a Bastard and Another Bitch)
Wolfram and Hart Law Offices
Los Angeles, CA
“So, where do you want to go for dinner?” Xander called across the room as he ducked a spray of bullets and hid behind the overturned teakwood secretary’s desk. Where the secretary was, he had no idea, although her absence was certainly contributing to a much longer life expectancy than she would have had, had she remained at her post.
“I’m thinking maybe ‘David’s Place’ because of the ribs,” he suggested as he popped up above the desk for a moment and sprayed the security guards’ bunker with the MP5-PDW he had snuck in under the designer suit and raincoat Cordy had selected for him, thanks to the brunette’s concealment spell.
“Sounds good to me,” Cordy replied as she paused at the hallway intersection to form a glowing ball between her hands and shape it into a particular configuration. The black Donna Karan skirt suit and high collared white silk blouse she wore gave her a professional look that allowed her to blend in perfectly with the younger group of Wolfram and Hart’s minions.
“Jenny says they’ve got the best chicken cacciatore in town, Amy likes their crab imperial and Faith and Giles both like their fettuccini Alfredo,” she noted with a small smile at Faith’s love of carbohydrates in all their forms. Herself, she was definitely a salty-over-sweet girl. And damn that Slayer metabolism that let her lover indulge all she wanted without gaining an ounce.
“Duck!” she added in a conversational tone as she suddenly stepped out into the hallway, and the glowing sphere rocketed through the air to impact against the reinforced shield Wolfram & Hart’s security forces were hiding behind.
Nothing seemed to happen for several seconds, and the guards began relaxing as the witch’s attack was absorbed much like her previous spells had been.
Xander, however, remained where he was and waited, being more familiar with his girlfriend’s methods than their opponents.
His patience was rewarded a moment later, as the guards’ security shield abruptly exploded, the shrapnel created by the explosion of the protective device peppering the guards’ bodies much like a Claymore mine would have done, and turning the guards into messy piles of dog food.
< Not that any self-respecting dog would even consider chowing down on that mess, > Xander thought to himself as he eyed the gore, only about half of which appeared to be human, as he checked over their weapons with what was now a professional eye.
The two warriors immediately rushed down the hallway that was now open to them, iridescent ribbons of energy preceding them as Cordy’s seeking spells searched for any hidden traps.
“Well now! Look who we have here!” Xander smiled as they burst into an expensive, teakwood-paneled office and discovered a worried-looking brunet in a Christian Dior suit frantically cramming papers into a wall safe.
“Immobilice!” Cordy’s spell paralyzed the man before he could slam the safe shut, and the two Scoobies carefully examined the entirety of the rest of the office before approaching him and the safe.
“Long time, no see, Lindsey,” the male Scooby smiled at the lawyer, although there was absolutely no humor or good will in his expression at all that the other man could detect.
Cordy’s spell kept him from answering, anyway, even had he wanted to speak.
“Interesting reading material you’ve got here, Lindsey,” Cordy commented as she and Xander quickly looked over the papers he had been trying to secure before stuffing them all into a small beltpack Xander carried that had been enchanted to increase its storage capacity. “Very-TARDIS-like,” he had commented when Jenny had given it to him this morning; only Giles had gotten the joke.
“Cessare!” Cordy said, releasing the lawyer from his mystical restraints, only for him to collapse to the floor as Xander drove his fist into the other man’s solar plexus, winding him.
“Okay, Lindsey, old friend,” Xander gave the man a teeth-bearing smile as he gazed down at him that uncomfortably reminded the solicitor of the brunet’s files he had read detailing, among other things, his possession by a Primal Predator Spirit; a hyena, if he remembered correctly. “Here’s the deal: You tell us what we want to know and we let you walk out of that door, untouched and without a single hair on your head mussed up.
“Don’t tell us, and I’ll play jump rope with your intestines while Cordy sees how long it takes for you to die from boiling your blood while it’s still in your body,” he completed his offer.
“What is it you want to know?”
“Who ordered the Terakan hit on Buffy Summers?”
“I want both of you to swear on her power that you’ll let me go, unharmed, and never come after me again,” the lawyer replied, quickly sorting through the importance and value of the assorted pieces of information he had stored in his head.
“We won’t come after you for anything you’ve been involved in, up to today,” Cordy responded with a counter-offer.
“Agreed,” the Harvard graduate nodded in satisfaction at the concession. ‘Swear, now. You guys obviously don’t have much time to waste,” he noted, as he glanced towards his office door.
“All right,” Cordy nodded her agreement. “Xander, give me your hand,” she instructed her boyfriend.
As a shimmering amber glow surrounded the two of them, the witch pronounced their oath.
“So long as you provide us with the complete and unabridged truth concerning who is responsible for ordering the Terakan assassination on Buffy Summers, Lindsey, we both swear, upon pain of having my power invoked in retribution against us, to not take any hostile action, now or ever, against you for any actions you have been involved in up to, and including, today.
“Is that acceptable?” she asked, as the glow faded away.
“Entirely,” the lawyer smiled his exhilaration with the oath just sworn.
“Remember, Lindsey,” Xander growled a warning, staring at the other man with ill-concealed hatred, “the complete and unabridged truth about the Buffy Summers hit. Lie, or hold anything back, and the oath is null and void.”
“Holland Manners, my supervisor, the man you killed last week, was the man who authorized the Terakan hit on Miss Summers,” Lindsey immediately responded.
“As far as the identities of the people responsible for first recommending the hit on Miss Summers to him, that would be Lilah and myself,” he grinned at his two foes.
“We were brainstorming the best way to neutralize the Slayer’s sudden improvement in her efforts in taking down an increasing number of our clients in and around Sunnydale, and decided that we needed a plausible scapegoat. It was an extremely simple matter to have one of our mages implant a suggestion to hire the Terakans in your old friend Spike’s mind.
“In fact, we both got bonuses when she bit it,” he boasted, laughing at the rage that filled both of the brunettes’ eyes at his revelation.
The two demon-fighters looked at each other, and Cordy nodded her head as she caught Xander’s eye.
“All right, asshole,” Xander growled, this time almost literally, “you’ve told us everything we needed to know. Now, get moving before I do something I’ll regret later.”
“Wow,” Lindsey laughed again, looking over his shoulder at the raging but unmoving duo as he headed to the door, “how does it feel to have to let the person responsible for your best friend’s death walk away unscathed, and know that there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it?
“Urgh!” he grunted, as he suddenly felt an ice-cold pain erupt in his gut.
Looking down, he saw the hilt of a very large knife projecting from his stomach. As his eyes moved from the hand holding the hilt up along the arm it was connected to, he found himself staring into cold, yet somehow still fiery, dark brown eyes that looked at him with an anger and rage that matched those of the two warriors and the strawberry blonde who had joined them, and who were all watching the entire tableau with pleased and satisfied expressions on their faces.
“Lindsey, we’d like you to meet Faith, the Vampire Slayer,” Cordy smiled at the gaping lawyer, “and our other associate, Amy Madison.”
Lindsey’s legs were feeling very weak, now, and he seemed to slip off the blade the hot-looking brunette had stuck in his stomach and collapse to the floor.
“Faith decided a while back that she doesn’t like people who try to get Slayers killed,” Xander chimed in as he grinned down at his hated enemy. “Amy’s not too fond of them, either.”
Lindsey could feel the blood soaking into the carpet beneath him, and he realized he didn’t have much time left.
“You lied to me,” he croaked as he stared up at the three people staring down and smiling at him. “You broke your oath. Why are you still alive?”
“We didn’t break our oath,” Xander said. “You made us promise not to take any hostile action against you for your actions, and we didn’t! All Cordy did was let Faith and Amy listen in on everything you said. We didn’t do anything. We just stood by and watched when Faith gutted you, that’s all!
“You’re a lawyer, asshole!” he laughed. “You, of all people, should know about being careful to ask for exactly what you want!”
“Oh, by the way, I met your asshole buddy, Lilah, outside,” Faith added. “I invited her to come along, so she could see what happens to people who help kill Slayers, but she decided she’d rather die, instead,” she noted as she tossed the usually ultra-stylish lawyer’s corpse on top of him, so that he could see her terror-filled eyes above the wide-open, screaming mouth and the jagged slash across her throat that had nearly decapitated his colleague.
“Oh, by the way, Lindsey,” he could hear Cordy’s voice as though from a great distance as he began fading away, “if you were counting on those soul-catchers you guys had scattered around the building to keep you all from heading to your just rewards, I’d be a little worried, if I were you.
“You see, we destroyed all of them before we came after any of you guys.”
“Don’t worry about getting lonely either, buddy,” he heard Xander saying faintly. “We’re going after the Terakan Council, next.”
“Well, I gotta admit, that was definitely fun,” Xander stated as they looked down on the two now thoroughly-and-completely dead lawyers cluttering up the carpet.
“So, on to Phase two, now?” he asked his companions.
“Yeah, doofus,” Cordy gave him an exasperated look. “That’s the plan.”
Pulling a hands-free cell phone microphone and earpiece arrangement out of her belt pack, the witch donned it, thumbed a ‘speed-dial’ number as well as the 128-bit encryption unit and spoke into the microphone.
“Control, this is Nemesis One. Phase one complete. Proceeding to phase two. Will report when complete,’ she said, then switched off the unit.
As she spoke, Xander, Faith and Amy had opened the briefcases they were carrying and had removed and begun attaching blocks of a grayish-white, plastic-looking substance to various points throughout the building’s framework that Xander marked with one of the law firm’s own red Sharpie markers.
Each of the blocks had a timer attached to them, and each one was counting down to the designated moment as the four teammates worked quickly, yet coolly, placing the packages at the proper locations and ignoring the various bodies, human and demon, that were sprawled across the floors of the firm’s uppermost levels.
“Okay, guys, we’re done here,” Xander declared as he activated the final timer. “Let’s get moving.”
Taking the elevator back down to the ground floor, Amy’s spell ensuring that it didn’t stop at any intermediate floors, the four of them casually joined the lunchtime crowd exiting the building and headed towards the subway entrance at an unhurried pace.
The sound of police sirens could be heard in the distance, and a moment’s attention would inform the listener that the sirens were quickly approaching the building. By the time the first of the official response units had arrived, all four Scoobies had vanished down belowground.
“…announced that lunatic members of an extremist eco-terrorist group had attacked the local headquarters of the law firm of Wolfram and Hart earlier this morning, killing over two dozen employees and leaving no survivors. The Los Angeles Police Bomb Squad, however, was able to successfully disarm all of the explosive devices the terrorists left behind, in an obvious attempt to destroy evidence, create confusion and further demoralize the citizens of this great city. Police Commissioner Harold Goode has announced that an investigation into this horrible massacre has already uncovered several promising leads and arrests are expected momentarily…”
“So, G-Man, how’s it feel to be a member of the lunatic fringe?” Xander asked as they left ‘David’s Place’ and took a leisurely stroll through the sparsely-filled streets, Cordy on his left and Faith on the far side of the former cheerleader, the three of them moving together in the relaxed and familiar way of lovers totally at ease with each other. Amy and Jonathan trailed several yards behind the others, their arms around each other’s waist as they walked in step with each other.
“Much the same as it felt when we were still considered upstanding and productive members of society, I suppose,” the former librarian replied.
“Somehow, Rupe, I really doubt that that description could ever have applied to any of us,” Jenny Calendar grinned up at the group’s mentor as she leaned into him slightly as they walked arm-in-arm.
“I’m with her,” Faith chimed in, indicating the ex-computer science teacher. “I ain’t ever been upstanding and don’t ever plan to be, either.”
Whatever remark the others night have made to the Slayer’s statement would remain forever unknown, as the spirit of Darwin decided to provide further proof of his theory of survival of the fittest.
“Okay now, you people all hand over your wallets and purses and maybe we won’t mess you up too bad.”
The speaker was a tall, unshaven, heavily-muscled olive-skinned man in his mid-twenties, who was accompanied by a dozen or so individuals who would have fit into the general social structure of George Lucas’ Mos Isley spaceport without any problem, whatsoever.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Xander actually laughed as he looked around and saw the gang members encircling them.
“Look, buddy, if you guys start running now, I can probably get the girls to give you a minute’s head start,” he advised the puzzled-looking gang leader. “But that’s the best I can offer.”
“Xan-d-e-r-r-r-r,” Cordy whined as she threw him what he had to admit was a very fetching pout, “you never let us have any fun! You wouldn’t even let us keep any souvenirs from the last time!”
Giles and the other members of the Scooby Gang were finding the reactions of the various gang members standing around them quite amusing, as all of the would-be hardcases stared in disbelief at their apparent victims’ atypical reactions, and the beautiful brunette’s, in particular.
“Cordy, those guys were still alive,” Xander noted, trying to hide his grin at his lover’s reaction. “I’ve told you girls at least a dozen times, you can only take souvenirs off dead people,” he said with the air of one repeating himself for the thousandth time. “Understand me?”
“Yeah!!” the witch smiled happily at him before turning to the other brunette beauty.
“Hey, Faith! Xander says we can keep as many souvenirs as we want, once these guys are dead!” she exclaimed excitedly, as the gang members exchanged clearly disturbed looks with each other. Normal people didn’t usually discuss taking souvenirs off dead people; especially when the dead people they were discussing weren’t dead yet, and had them clearly outnumbered two-to-one.
“He’s not gonna stop us when we’re half done, like he did the last time, is he?” the dark-haired Slayer asked her teammate as she threw a narrow-eyed, plainly annoyed glare in Xander’s direction.
“Nuh-uh. I promise!” Cordy shook her head encouragingly. “But you can’t go after any of the ones I want, okay?
“All the ones on that side are yours,” she indicated the gang members on Faith’s left side, “and all the ones on this side are mine!” She pointed to the ones closest to her.
“Want to race and see who gets finished first?” she smiled widely as she challenged her lover.
“Hey!” Amy broke into the two brunettes’ discussion. “How come you guys always get to go first?” she complained. “Xander always lets you guys have first chance at these guys. It’s not fair!”
“Well, we’re the ones sleeping with him, Sabrina. If he didn’t let us have first choice, we’d probably make him sleep alone,” Faith pointed out reasonably, eliciting a small snort from Giles and a loud, not-very-lady-like laugh from Jenny, as well as curious-but-doubtful looks from several of the gang members.
“Well, I want to go first, this time!” Amy whined, a petulant look on her gorgeous face. “You guys always got to go first the other times! I should get to be first tonight! Tomorrow is my birthday, remember?” she reminded the two brunettes.
“Well, I suppose, since it is your birthday, you could go first, tonight,” Faith grudgingly agreed, a reluctant expression on her face. “What do you think, Cor?”
“I guess, since it’s her birthday, we should let her go first,” the brunette witch nodded. “Okay, Amy, you get to be first, tonight. Happy birthday!” she smiled.
“Want us to sing the birthday song for you?” she asked, an even more manic grin than she had previously displayed on her face. The nervous and apprehensive looks on the various gang members’ faces as they listened to the obviously not-anywhere-near-approaching-sane conversation going on before them was making all the effort worthwhile, Xander decided as he watched the girls each trying to outdo the other in their off-the-wall remarks.
“Look, I hate having to clean up after them, so if I were you, I’d start running as soon as they start singing,” Xander advised the leader in a low voice. “They usually sing the chorus three times before they finish, so it’ll give you more time to hide.”
“Would you like us to put candles on them for you, honey?” Jonathan asked the now-beaming redhead in a completely relaxed tone of voice.
The totally out of the blue question, delivered perfectly deadpan and coming from someone who appeared to be the most innocuous member of the clearly disturbed group they had made the mistake of bothering, was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
Hearing his friend’s comment, Xander literally fell down howling, as all of the gang members suddenly bolted, each of them heading in a different direction as they sought a safe place to hide away from the asylum escapees they had made the error of trying to waylay.
“W-w-would you like us to put candles on them for you, honey?” he managed to repeat, before falling back into additional paroxysms of laughter.
"Oh my god, Jono,” he gasped, clutching at his aching sides as he helplessly rolled on the street, “that w-was priceless!
“You are the man!” he declared, holding out his hand for a high-, or in this case, a low-five.
“Thanks, Xan,” the smaller man grinned as they slapped hands. “It was the strangest normal thing I could think of to say,” he admitted.
Off to the side, the three Scooby women were discussing their significant others.
“You know, Sabrina, your guy is almost as strange as ours is,” Faith observed sagely.
“Yeah, I know,” the redhead nodded. “So, what’s that make us?”
“Better than mortal men deserve,” Cordy immediately replied with the tiniest hint of a smile and a large degree of certainty.
The deserted roof of a parking garage
Several blocks from the Wolfram and Hart Building
The next morning.
“So, how’re things looking, Jono?” Xander inquired as he looked over the shoulder of the Scooby Gang’s resident hacker and computer genius as he typed away on the keyboard of his laptop.
“Pretty much normal, so far, Xan,” the shorter man replied. “The meeting’s not scheduled to start for another twenty minutes, so we’ve got plenty of time, yet.”
Jonathan’s laptop was positioned atop the hood of the dark blue Nissan Altima that he, Amy, Jenny and Giles had arrived in, and which was parked next to Cordy’s silver Infiniti. The laptop’s placement allowed everyone to see what was currently happening in the Wolfram and Hart boardroom as a result of the live feed from the miniaturized cameras Faith and Amy had planted the previous day while Xander and Cordy had provided a distraction, and all of the Scoobies were currently clustered around the front of the car, watching avidly.
The screen was at present displaying what looked to be a stereotypical scene of a board of directors meeting that could be seen in any of a hundred movies or television shows. The innocuousness of the scene disappeared, however, when one of the doors in the background opened and a large, magenta-hued and feathered humanoid in a three-piece, impeccably cut suit walked through and took its place at the board table. The creature was joined, in short order, by three more obvious non-humans, although all were clearly of different species than the first one.
No one had spoken when the first demon had appeared, and the silence continued with the arrival of the others.
As the image of a distinguished, silver-haired human finally called the meeting to order to discuss the events of the previous day, Jonathan announced, “Everyone we’re interested in, is in there, guys.”
“You’re sure?” Xander asked, his eyes narrowed as he looked at the screen, his hatred clear to any observer.
“Yep,” Jonathan nodded firmly. “The facial-recognition software I loaded last week confirms that everyone we’re after is in there. There’s no question about that.”
“Very well, Jonathan,” Giles smiled at the news, an expression that had more than a trace of Ripper in it. “Initiate phase one.”
“You got it,” the hacker confirmed, a small smile of satisfaction on his face as he typed in a series of commands. “Phase one initiated.”
The scene on the laptop screen remained unchanged, and everyone but the small brunet watched the display with a mixture of concern and apprehension for what seemed an interminable period of time, but which couldn’t have been more than two minutes.
“Phase one complete,” he finally announced. “All doors and windows are now locked and unable to open, and all alarm systems are disabled. All outside security systems are being fed a loop of last Monday’s routine and all exterior communication system links have been cut.
‘The entire building is now cut off from the city, guys,” he stated with a wide smile. “Ready to initiate phase two.”
All eyes turned to Giles at Jonathan’s final words, and the Watcher of the now-deceased Slayer, Buffy Summers, smiled at his adopted family before they all turned to gaze across the city at Wolfram and Hart’s headquarters.
“ ‘An as ye sow, thus shall ye reap’,” he quoted, before saying, “Implement phase two, Jonathan.”
Wordlessly, the youth typed in one final command, and the laptop screen showed the building’s fire suppression system suddenly start spraying a fine clear liquid over everything in the room.
Although no one could really smell it, each of the Scoobies imagined the odor of the gasoline that was saturating everyone and everything in the building, while Xander and Jonathan also visualized the various electronically triggered packets of C-4 that they had spent hours hiding within the building’s ventilation system during their short time as members of the building’s contracted-out cleaning service the week before.
It was barely five seconds after the spray started that the explosives detonated, and the top five floors of the building, both here and extra-dimensionally, encompassing all of Wolfram and Hart’s upper- and middle-management staff, blew up through the roof of the building and ceased to exist as anything other than rubble and small charred fragments recognizable as flesh only through DNA analysis.
“Well,” Giles said after a moment’s silence to appreciate their accomplishments, “good job, everyone! Now that that little matter’s been taken care of, it seems we need to tend to the Terakans, next.”
Looking back at the crowd of smiling faces surrounding him, he asked,
“Shall we get started, then?”