Prologue and Part 1
Title: Payne To The Max v2.0 Author: Greydon Creed Rating: Mature/18 (some flirting, cursing, disturbing imagery, violence and heavy making out. You know, the good stuff.) Summary: On that fateful Halloween night, Xander Harris and Cordelia Chase dress as video game characters – star-crossed lovers with lots of gunplay. Disclaimer: Neither the video game characters nor the TV show characters belong to me. No monetary profit will be made by the distribution of this story. The story concept alone belongs to me. Note: The opening monologue is a condensed version of the one from the ‘Previously’ section on the X-Box video game Max Payne 2. payne to the max - prologue I am Max Payne. My wife and daughter were murdered. It had something to do with the designer drug ‘V’, Valkyre. I transferred from the NYPD to the DEA, went undercover to find their killers. I got too close. I was framed for murder. With nothing to lose, I went after the Mafia during the worst winter storm in a century. I met Mona Sax in a Gothic nightclub, Ragnarock. She was a hired killer. We were after the same man, her sister’s sadistic husband. I was drawn to her for all the wrong reasons. While working for the D.A., my wife saw papers incriminating the maker of “V”, a pharmaceutical manufacturer headed by Nicole Horne. Horne ordered my wife killed. A powerful rival of Horne’s promised to take care of the charges against me if I took Horne out. The NYPD was trailing me by the trail of empty shell casings I left behind. The gunshots made me deaf to the sirens, but it could not drown the sobs of my dead wife. Mona sided with me again Horne. She took a bullet for that. Her body disappeared behind closing elevator doors. I killed Horne. I gave myself up to the police. I had enough evidence to make sure Horne’s rival would keep his word. I lied to myself that it was over. I was still alive. My loved ones were still dead. It wasn’t over… payne to the max part one Ethan’s Costume Shop Sunnydale, Ca, 4:45 PM Oct 30, 1997
Xander Harris gave a mental curse of disappointment as a grade school kid grabbed the last toy assault rifle from the discount bin. Since this was coming out of his school lunch allowance, he didn’t have all that much money to spend for a costume. If it hadn’t been for that troll Synder dragooning him into the Halloween Trick-Or-Treat escort program, Buffy, Willow and he would have spent the only monster free night of the year vegging out at home. Instead, Xander had to now figure out how to do a costume on the cheap.
Looking over at his best buds, Xander’s teeth set on edge as he watched the two girls fawn over a 18th century noblewoman’s gown. It wasn’t hard to figure out why Buffy was getting that dress… anything to catch Captain Hairgell’s attention.
Sighing, Xander looked around the shop one more time. If he didn’t find something soon, he was going to steal Willow’s idea out from under her and go the bedsheet route. Snyder wouldn’t be very happy with it, but he was more than a little tempted to tell the Ferengi reject where to head in.
“Maybe I can be of some assistance, young man.” Turning, Xander saw that the speaker was a older man, looking to be roughly his parents’ age. What drew Xander’s attention was the man’s accent – excluding Giles, there weren’t that many Brits in SoCal.
“I don’t think you can help much, sir. A kid took off with my idea for a costume.” Xander gestured toward the hyper boy being lead out of the store by his mom. “I had some army surplus fatigues I was going to wear but you don’t have any more toy guns.”
“Never say never, young sir. I do have some items I have not yet put on display.” The older man walked behind the counter and picked up a large cardboard box, placing it on the counter. Reaching in, the man pulled out what looked to be a black leather jacket and a police badge on a neck chain before producing a toy pistol in a plastic holster and a spare magazine carrier. “These items were parts of a costume for a video game convention that were put into my shipment. I can’t say I know much about the game itself, except for what was detailed in this pamphlet.”
Xander looked from the toy pistol he was examining (which looked to be a replica Berretta service pistol) to the badge sitting on the jacket. Picking it up, he could tell it was a replica NYPD detective badge as well, although a fairly realistic one. Flipping around the badge, he saw that the back of the badge holder contained a ID card for the character, one that at a quick glance at the picture he saw resembled him a little. Taking the offered pamphlet from the store keeper, Xander saw on the front a drawing of a man and a woman embracing, each of them holding a handgun.
After quickly glancing through the booklet, Xander looked down at the last item on the counter and began to shake his head. “There’s no way that I can afford a jacket like that, if I’m lucky I can afford the pistol and maybe the badge, but not that.”
The storekeeper picked up the jacket and unfolded it, revealing it to be a hip length coat that more than resembled the one worn by a certain member of the undead. “How about you and I make a deal, young man? I won’t be able to sell this jacket easily due to it’s condition” - the jacket looked more than a little worn – “and it is part of this set. If you are willing to give me a bit of free advertising about this shop, I’m sure I can extend you a substantial discount.”
“Advertising?” Xander took the coat and looked at it closer. The coat looked worn, but it certainly looked warm enough.
“Just let people know you bought your costume at this store. Word of mouth is by far the most effective method of advertisement.” The man used British pronunciation on the last word, making Xander look up at him. “And of course you would be able to use the coat after tomorrow’s holiday far more than your surplus uniform.”
“All I have is twenty bucks, mister. You sure you want to do this?” Xander was more than halfway convinced.
“Let the Fates decide. Try the coat on.” The man gestured at the coat, and Xander slowly put it on, more than a little surprised that it fit him perfectly.
“It looks as though you have your answer.” Ethan Rayne smiled at Xander.
* * * * *
“Get out of my way, geek-boy.”
Ethan looked up from the cash register to see a brunette teenager walking though the front door. In spite of the harsh words she had just used against the young man who was leaving the store, he would see that the young woman was rather attractive. However, the look on her face detracted from her classic beauty.
“How may I help you, miss?” Ethan quickly schooled his face to that of a pleasant storekeeper.
“The idiots at Partytown screwed up my order and didn’t reserve my costume. They didn’t have anything I would be caught dead in, so I was hoping to find something here.” Given the emphasis the girl put on the word ‘here’, it was a certainly that she wanted to be anywhere but there.
“I am sorry to say that all the rental costumes have been hired out.” Ethan watched as the teen scowled.
“I’m willing to pay good bucks for a decent costume. I don’t want to look like a loser at Aura’s party.”
Remembering how harshly this young lady had treated the young man who had just bought the detective costume, Ethan mentally smiled to himself. “How about this, I can sell you the accessories to a costume, I’m sure you have the clothing to complete it. And I can assure you, no one will be dressed like you would be.”
“Show me what you got,” the girl ordered abruptly. Ethan nodded and pulled toward him the cardboard box still on the counter.
“These are the accessories to a video game character costume that were used at a convention. All you would have to do is to wear a shirt and jeans similar to the ones in these pictures. The coat is optional, of course.” Ethan handed over a booklet to the young woman before digging out a shoulder holster and a large toy handgun from the box. “It would also help if you wore your hair in a ponytail as the character does as well.”
The young woman looked intently at the pamphlet in her hand before looking at the holster and pistol on the counter. “How do you wear one of those things?
Ethan picked up the harness and walked around the counter. “If I may?” He gestured for her to hold her arms out and carefully slipped the rig onto her shoulders. Luckily, the harness did not need adjustment, so once the tie down straps were snapped down, all that needed to be done was to place the replica Desert Eagle Magnum handgun in the holster.
While the girl was swinging her arms around to make sure she was comfortable, Ethan pulled out a spare pistol magazine carrier and a pair of black leather gloves from the box. “With these items, and the clothing you supply yourself, I’m sure you would look smashing tomorrow night.” Seeing the girl nod her agreement, Ethan moved behind the register. “How will you be paying for this, Ms…?”
“Chase, Cordelia Chase. American Express, of course.”
* * * * * Summers Residence Sunnydale, Ca 5:30 PM October 31, 1997
Hearing the doorbell ring Joyce Summers quickly walked to the front door. She was trying to get ready for her own Halloween party at the gallery, while making sure that Buffy and her friend Willow left on time to their own activity. Buffy had said that Xander was going to join them, so maybe that’s who was at the door.
Opening the door, Joyce saw a tall dark-haired man standing partially in the shadows, dressed in a black leather coat, grey dress slacks and a white dress shirt with a pulled down tie. Joyce’s heart skipped a beat when she saw the police badge hanging in front of his chest, and the deep voice that she heard speak. “I’m sorry to bother you ma’am, but is Buffy Summers home?”
“Oh my God, what has Buffy done now?” Joyce had visions of another school gym burning floating in her mind.
“Nothing that can be proven, actually.” The voice suddenly was lighter as the man took a step forward and his face became visible. “Evening, Mrs. Summers.
“Xander! Oh God, I nearly had a heart attack. Don’t do that to me!” Joyce stepped back as Xander walked thought the open door.
“You’re too young and too pretty to be worrying about a heart attack, Mrs. S. Sorry about that.” Xander grinned as he looked at Joyce, who blushed and was looking away when a voice floated down from the top of the stairs.
“XANDER!!! Stop flirting with my mother!!!” Buffy bounced down the stairs wearing the noblewoman’s dress and a tall black wig.
“Buffy! Duchess of Buffonia! I completely renounce spandex!” Xander looked from one Summers woman to another. “I see where you get your beauty from.” As both women blushed, Xander looked up to see Willow walking down the stairs in her ghost costume. “Mighty scary boo you got there, Wills. You’re lucky I found this costume, I was going to steal yours.”
“Why are you dressed up like Angel?” Buffy’s question caused no visible reaction from Xander, who had been halfway expecting it. In fact, it had been one of the reasons he had been reluctant to buy the coat to begin with. But the deal offered, along with the fact that he would have a better coat for the winter than his flannel shirt, had prevailed in the end
He took hold of his badge and showed it to the currently brunette Slayer. “Unless Captain Hairgel got a day job as a detective, I’m not being him. I’m a character from a video game.”
Buffy didn’t look happy at Xander’s nickname for her undead sweety, but she nodded her acknowledgement. Xander looked down at his wristwatch. “Time to deal with the hyper-sugared rug-rats, guys. Have a good night, Mrs. S.”
* * * * * end payne to the max part one