B for Vengeance
Summary: Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing.
Challenge: for the TtH#8495 2016 In Memoriam Challenge
Timeline: AU for season 6 BtVS and season 4 of L&O to get the characters I loved the most (as a group); change timelines to match up
Disclaimer: BtVS/AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. Law & Order characters belong to Dick Wolf, et al. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
Office of the District Attorney
There had been a vigilante 'plaguing' the streets of Manhattan for the last several months. Crimes by repeat offenders were dropping drastically because those repeat offenders could no longer offend. They weren't dead, but they were crippled to the point where they sometimes wished they were.
A couple of the criminal victims had asked their judge/jury/maimer why they weren't being killed, and the response both relieved and frightened the law enforcement. "Slayers can't kill humans." As anyone with knowledge of the human psyche could tell you, actions almost always escalated. So, while this 'Slayer' person said it was wrong to kill humans, that could – and probably would – change with time. And their chosen pseudonym didn't lessen that concern.
Even though they were worried about copycats, the police were relatively sure that there was only one Slayer, even if they spoke of themselves in the plural. The confusing part was that one of the more lucid criminal victims claimed it was a woman who stopped his life of crime. Based on the forensic evidence, they couldn't see how that was possible…unless the woman in question was over 6 feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds…basically a female linebacker.
A few women matching the physical parameters and a having personal connection to at least one of the Slayer's victims were brought in for questioning, but turned out to have unbreakable alibis for one or more of the crimes. There would have to be several more of them out there and they would have to all serve their version of justice in the exact same way to make it a logical conspiracy. Something that big would fall apart rather quick in reality.
Of course, it was random happenstance that allowed the police to finally catch the 'Slayer' vigilante. One of her – and yes, they were stunned to discover it really was a woman – victims managed to seriously injure her enough that the police were able to track her down in a nearby alley, attempting to mend her own wounds.
She had become a media darling overnight, with the public praising her for 'doing the police's job better than they did' and condemning the district attorney's office for trying to punish her for it. It was enough to make the prosecutors' shake their heads. These people rooting for her never stopped to wonder where this vigilante would draw the line, or if she ever made a mistake in who she targeted. Just because it hadn't happened yet, didn't mean it never would if she continued laying out her own brand of justice.
Waving the latest headline at his colleagues, DA Adam Schiff asked, "What do you think after talking to her?"
Probably the most surprising thing about her was her blunt acceptance at being caught. She didn't lawyer up and answered any questions they asked freely. She didn't try to weasel out of it or claim insanity…exactly. Some of her answers, however, had Executive Assistant District Attorney Ben Stone calling for a psych eval.
While she sounded genuine in her responses, he needed a professional opinion from somebody he trusted to tell him, rather than some shady quack hired by an unscrupulous defense attorney.
Meanwhile his detectives delved into the woman's history, even flying out to Los Angeles for some face-to-face interviews. What they found was nothing short of devastating, both from a human standpoint and from a prosecutor's.
"I would almost swear somebody wanted to train her to become a vigilante," Ben started.
"What do you mean?" Adam asked with suspicion glinting in his eyes. That wasn't something they had considered before. They always assumed the Slayer was working their own agenda, not somebody else's.
Ben shook his head sadly. "It's almost like from a comic book where they explain the superhero or supervillain's backstory. Of course, she sees herself as a hero…but…" he trailed off helplessly as his eyes read the familiar words that told her history. It was too tragic for anyone to endure.
Seeing her boss' imminent breakdown, ADA Claire Kincaid started revealing the background information they got from Detectives Briscoe and Logan, "Buffy Anne Summers was the sole survivor of the Hemery massacre eight years ago and suffered a psychotic break, so she was hospitalized by her parents."
Adam couldn't say he was surprised. He doubted that anyone could have walked away from that bloodbath unscathed. As far as he knew, they still hadn't solved the case, although some pundits claimed it was gang-related. Although why they would attack a high school in a middle-to-upper class neighborhood wasn't explained to anyone's satisfaction.
"She spent several years sliding in and out of delusional states. When she was in that state, she'd talk about being this superpowered girl known as the Slayer, whose destiny was to destroy vampires and other evil demons," Claire continued in a clinical voice, trying hard not to personalize the story until it was completed. It was her only hope of not following her boss' actions.
"So that's where it began," murmured Adam. He had wondered why a vigilante so set on not killing her victims would give herself such a name as Slayer.
Claire ignored his comment and went on, "Olivet was furious to discover their method for stopping her delusions. The doctors told her to kill the people tying her to that delusional world: her best friends and her little sister." She couldn't help it and shuddered at the thought of committing such a heinous act, even if it weren't real.
"Did it work?" Adam asked, masking his own horror.
"It appeared to. She became lucid and was released a couple months later when they were sure she wasn't going to regress. If that were the end of it, she might have had a chance," Claire editorialized for the first time.
Needing to know, but afraid to find out, Adam reluctantly inquired, "What happened next?"
"Her parents were murdered in front of her by some home invaders, but they were chased off by police sirens before they could kill her. To make it worse, even though she identified them, they still were released before they could be brought to trial. Their defense attorneys found out about her hospitalization and used that to discredit her testimony, and since the police based their investigation on it, everything they found as a result was thrown out by the judge."
Adam rubbed his forehead in frustration at a system that made his life more difficult. "The police couldn't make an independent case without her?"
Clair shook her head, "By the time they were able to find sufficient cause to bring back their previous evidence, the suspects disappeared. When she found out, Ms. Summers sold her family's belongings and moved to New York. After acclimating herself to the area, she began her time as the Slayer vigilante."
He sat there and thought for a few minutes, trying to solve the puzzle. Finally, he asked the all-important question, "Is it possible that the suspects from her parents' murders came here?"
After quickly checking her files, Claire answered, "They don't match any of our known victims, but I'll ask Briscoe and Logan to look into it."
"Has anyone figured out how she was able to do this? It shouldn't be physically possible for somebody of her build, unless she's on drugs of some kind," Adam theorized.
"Blood tests came back negative," Claire replied, knowing that was the most logical conclusion. "They found an anomaly in her DNA, but they aren't sure what that means yet."
"So we have a sweet-looking pixie of a woman committing crimes that are beyond her physical capabilities, yet she's confessed to them freely. Has she given any indication how she does it?" Adam asked, seeing no way to win this legal battle.
"She said she was given the strength to defend the world against evil and is trained by her Watcher, who also researches the different evils she has to fight," Ben answered sardonically, coming back into the conversation again.
"A partner?" Adam asked in shock.
Ben sighed. "Elizabeth thinks that it might be a separate personality. The detectives found out that her 'Watchers' from her delusions were a favorite teacher and her cheerleading coach at Hemery. They were both killed that night. Now it's somebody who's a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Alfred Pennyworth."
"Even better," muttered Adam. "So does Olivet think she's legally insane?"
"That's the thing, she doesn't. She thinks that Ms. Summers needs good psychiatric help, but she can understand the legal system better than most 'sane' defendants," Ben answered with a wry chuckle.
"So your recommendations?" Adam prompted.
"If she agrees to it, I'd ask for her to be treated rather than attempt to convict her," Ben said. "It's not that I don't think she committed crimes, but she needs help more than she deserves a prison cell."
"Plus it would just about impossible to get a jury to convict her," Claire added, pointing out the obvious. While they tried unpopular cases before – and would again – this one didn't feel right to pursue. She was more careful than most vigilantes to keep innocent bystanders out of harm's away when committing her crimes.
"Let's see if we can get her to take it," Adam decided. If they had to bring her to trial, the people of the city might make her into a martyr. Martyrs were bad for politics.
A/N: I can't remember hearing about Steven Hill's (Adam Schiff) passing back in August, so it made me sad to find out yesterday (when I was looking through the list of celebs that died in 2016 for this challenge).