The People of New York v. Buffy Summers

by: Sam Lincoln (sam@cosmic-hippo.org)

Rating PG-13
Summary: An unusual case crosses the desk of Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy.

Spoilers: Post series finale for Buffy. Set in the current season of Law and Order, but no real spoilers.

Disclaimer: All characters from Buffy are property of Mutant Enemy. All characters from Law and Order are property of Wolf Films/USA Studios. Used without permission, blah blah.

The People of New York v. Buffy Summers: Chapter Six

-Superior Court
-Part 43
-Thursday, June 20

McCoy walked into the courtroom and with some surprise noticed a small cluster of people sitting behind the defendant's table. He quickly spotted Willow Rosenberg sitting next to a man with a patch over one eye.

"Why are these people here?" McCoy asked Southerlyn as he sat down next to her.

"Miller asked if a few of Miss Summers's friends and relatives could attend," Southerlyn replied.

"But he's the one who wanted the closed court."

"He needed Judge Archer's permission to bend the rules. I guess they're all in on it."

McCoy glared at Willow. "I'm very tempted to issue an obstruction of justice charge."

"Save your breath Jack, they'll just grant her immunity in exchange for testimony in this case."

McCoy's reply was cut off by the arrival of Judge Archer. "Mr. Miller is the defense ready to get started?"

"Yes we are your honor," Miller said.

"Good because I want to get this trial over with. I'm tired of all this cloak and dagger bullflop."

"Certainly your honor, the defense calls Mr. Angel to the stand."

A tall man dressed in black stood up and walked to the witness stand. McCoy noticed that he declined to place his hand on the bible when the bailiff swore him in.

"Mr. Angel," Miller began. "Could you please explain to the court what your connection to Miss Summers is?"

"I first met Buffy about seven or eight years ago," Angel replied. "I've known of her for longer."

"Care to expand on that?"

"Buffy's the Slayer, in some circles the Vampire Slayer is more well-known than Britney Spears."

"And which circles are those?"

"The occult, demons, vampires, witches, people like that."

"But vampires and demons aren't real," Miller theatrically protested.

"If you lived in LA this spring you'd have a different take on the matter," Angel told the lawyer. "The world is a darker place than anyone realizes; there's a war between good and evil, and the only thing holding back the dark is the Slayer."

"Was Nicholas Carstairs a demon?"

Angel nodded, "Yes he was a member of a demon clan that worships one of the elder gods and tries to return it to this plane of existence."

"And could the New York Police Department have handled the problem?"

"Not a chance," Angel said while shaking his head. "The only thing that could stop him was the dagger Buffy carried. Bullets wouldn't have harmed him."

Miller nodded, "Thank-you, no further questions."

McCoy stood up and slowly walked towards the witness box. "Mr. Angel, do you have a first name?"

"Yes, Angel."

"How about a last name?"

"None that I want to share."

McCoy glanced down at his notes. "It says here that you're the CEO of Wolfram and Hart."

"Yes," Angel replied.

"That's quite a law firm. Why aren't you representing Miss Summers?"

"Because I was just given control of the firm and I still don't know who I can and cannot trust."

McCoy let the comment go by unchallenged. "You're a fascinating storyteller Mr. Angel, but what proof do you have?"

"You mean proof that vampires exist?"

"For starters yes."

"Will this do?" Angel asked as his face morphed into its demonic visage. He smiled and reveal a pair of elongated canines.

"What is the meaning of this?" McCoy thundered as he looked back and forth between Miller and Angel.

"I think it should be obvious Mr. McCoy," Angel said. "I am a vampire. I was turned almost three hundred years ago, and for two of those centuries I sowed fear and death across Europe. I was the creature that grandmothers told their grandchildren about to scare them before bed. You ask me if vampires are real, I ask you, do I look real?"

To his credit McCoy did not bat an eye. "If you're such a viscious killer then why haven't you tried to rip out my throat?" He asked without missing a beat. "Why hasn't Miss Summers tried to 'slay you?' And for that matter, aren't you supposed to be asleep in your coffin? It's nine in the morning!"

"Haven't you ever been up past your bed time?" Angel replied acerbically. "And believe me McCoy, there's a part of me that wants to tear your guts out and do all sort of vile things to your pretty assistant over there. By the way Miss Southerlyn, tell Kate hi for me." Angel let his face slid back to its human form. "But I won't. I was cursed, or blessed depending on your point of view, by the Roma. They restored my soul. Have you ever had two centuries of guilt come crashing down on you? I don't recommend it. Buffy knows what I am, and she...tolerates me, but if I ever go back to how I was I know she wouldn't hesitate to protect the innocent lives that would be in danger."

"Let me guess, you've now dedicated yourself to atoning for your sins?"

Angel tapped his nose. "got it in one, though there's no forgiveness for what I've done."

"Then why try?"

"Because I have to do something. Someone has to stand up against the creatures like me."

"Are all demons evil?" McCoy asked Angel.

"What?" Angel asked.

"You heard me, are all demons evil? Are they all bent on destroying the world?"

"Well no, but..."

"No further questions!" McCoy said before Angel could finish speaking.

"I think we're going to need a recess," Judge Archer said shakily. "We're dismissed until after lunch."

Following the recess for lunch Riley Finn took the stand. Riley lead Miller through a brief overview of the Initiative. Riley also touched on a few of Buffy's exploits.

"How did you get involved in this particular matter Agent Finn?"

"One of Buffy's associates, Rupert Giles, called me asking for help. I relayed the situation up the chain of command. I then brought my team to New York City and made sure the remainder of Nicholas Carstairs's demon clan did not try to complete the ritual."

"And how did you do that?"

"With the help of Willow Rosenberg we tracked the clan to its hideout in the Bronx and neutralized it."

"Did you find anything unusual in the hideout?"

"Yes, we found the room where Rachel Dietz and Shawna Mills were killed. Forensic evidence gathered at the scene confirms this and we are willing to share our findings with the NYPD for corroboration."

"And was the rest of the clan demon in nature?"

"Yes, most definitely, blood samples from the clan members at the scene are similar to the sample taken from the knife used by Buffy," Riley paused. "These killings were without a doubt the work of a group of demons trying to destroy this city."

"So Agent Finn, in your expert opinion are civil authorities like the NYPD equipped to handle the threat posed by vampires and other 'subterranean hostile' threats?"

Riley shook his head, "No, and sometimes even my team is out of its league against these things. The best asset we have in this fight is the Slayer."

"Thank-you Agent Finn. No further questions."

McCoy stood up from his seat. "Agent Finn, you're not associated with the FBI are you?"

"No," Riley admitted.

"How about the DEA?"

"No."

"The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms?"

"No."

"How about the Secret Service?"

"No," Riley said again.

"Ok Agent Finn, what Agency do you work for?"

"I'm attached to the NSA," Riley allowed.

"Attached from where?"

"The United States Army," Riley said. "Shortly after my graduation from West Point, and my completion of Ranger School I was approached about joining the Initiative, the rest is history."

"Refresh my memory Agent Finn. Isn't it illegal for the US military to engage in operations like this one on US soil?"

"You have to understand that the Initiative was a black project, and was listed on the books as a research program. We technically weren't with the US military at the time of the operation in Sunnydale."

"If effect you're a real life Man in Black," McCoy noted.

"You could say that," Riley agreed. "But that's all in the past. The Initiative is no longer a black ops program. Our focus is now entirely on neutralizing the threat posed by supernatural forces. Besides, the other aspects of the Initiative are classified and I can't talk about them."

"And you have immunity to keep the government from getting any black eyes," McCoy said.

Riley nodded, "There is that too."

"But if you have immunity then what do you have to worry about? Don't forget anything you say in this room is going to stay right here."

"Objection your honor!" Miller shouted. "Relevance?"

"Overruled, I want to hear this. Answer the question Agent Finn," Judge Archer instructed.

"What I didn't know at the time was that the Initiative had another objective; to build a demon/human hybrid super soldier. It went about as well as you would imagine and Buffy had to clean up the mess. That's why I'm here today, to repay Buffy for the services she's rendered to the safety of this country, and also because I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for her."

"The reason you're here is because the defendant helped cover up a grossly illegal military experiment run amok?" McCoy asked in disbelief.

"I'm here defending Buffy because she saved us. Many more people would have died if she hadn't stopped Adam."

"But there was a cover up."

"Of course there was, do you think the government would admit a rogue scientist nearly unleashed a zombie army on the country?"

"Accountability perhaps?"

"Everyone directly responsible was already dead, Adam saw to that," Riley said. "The project was buried, and it's best to leave it there."

McCoy realized that he'd exhausted his line of questioning and moved on to another topic. "So how about it Mr. Finn, you look like a normal person. If you can fight vampires then why can't the NYPD?"

"Mr. McCoy, we're an elite group armed with cutting edge technology and we can barely keep up with the bad guys. I've seen Buffy take down groups of vampires that I wouldn't even dream of engaging without a platoon's worth of backup. What Buffy can do with just a stake of wood takes a load of high explosives for me to replicate."

"Doesn't it bother you that one person has all that power?"

Riley shrugged, "Not really, I know Buffy, she's not one to abuse her power."

"But what if she was? What if she lacked the moral strength you claim she has?"

Riley took a deep breath, "We have...contingency plans."

"So in actual fact you don't trust her," McCoy said triumphantly.

Riley stared at Buffy, "I trust her with my life. Plans are just plans. It doesn't mean we expect to use them, or that Buffy is the person they're intended for." Riley fixed his gaze on McCoy, daring him to ask more questions.

McCoy decided he'd made his point. "No further questions."

"I think that's enough for today," Judge Archer said. "We'll pick this up in the morning."

As McCoy and Southerlyn waited for the elevator Southerlyn turned to face McCoy. "Did I just see what I think I did?"

"Apparently Miss Summers was telling the truth," McCoy noted, "About vampires at least," he added.

"Are you going to back off the case?"

"You're kidding right? You're not seriously suggesting we should give up the case now?" McCoy asked Southerlyn.

"After what happened back there I think they made their case."

"Did they? I didn't see any proof that Nicholas Carstairs was a demon."

"They don't have to, we did that for them. Remember the test on the sample of blood? The one that wasn't remotely human."

"That's a long way from making their case Serena. We'll see what happens when Miss Summers takes the stand."

-Superior Court
-Part 43
-Friday, June 21

The first witness Miller called was an Englishman named Rupert Giles. "Mr. Giles," Miller began, "Would you please tell the court what you know about demons and other super-natural creatures."

Giles adjusted his glassed, "Well, demons are real, as we saw yesterday, and they are older than humanity. For untold millennia they ruled the earth until they were finally banished. It is said that the last demon mixed his blood with a human, creating the first vampire. Shortly thereafter the First Slayer was called and the war has raged ever since."

"And how did you come to be involved in this?"

"I was Buffy's Watcher. Now I act as her friend."

"What is a Watcher?"

"A member of a secret organization that guided the Slayer. At present it no longer exists."

"And you were the person who alerted the defendant to the danger posed by Nicholas Carstairs?"

"That is correct. It came to my attention that a clan of Krisnakh demons were attempting to raise their master. It they were successful it would have been cataclysmic."

"So what did you do?"

"I notified Buffy of the danger, told her how the demons attempt to perform the summoning, and I informed her how to dispatch the threat."

"How was she supposed to do that?"

"A silver dagger through the heart."

"Isn't that a little dangerous? What if Buffy attacked the wrong person?"

"I have the upmost confidence in Buffy's abilities as the Slayer," Giles said. "And let me add that it is a travesty what you people are doing to her. Buffy has done more for the safety of humanity than anyone else in this room."

"Thank-you Mr. Giles, no more questions."

McCoy almost leapt out of his seat to begin his cross-examination. "More than anyone in this room Mr. Giles?" He asked with mock incredulity. "Isn't that a bit much?"

"And how many times have you averted the apocalypse Mr. McCoy? How many times have you died saving the lives of others?"

McCoy refused to rise to the bait. "Mr. Giles, you say you have confidence in Miss Summers's ability, but what if she makes a mistake?"

"That would be...unfortunate," Giles admitted.

"Unfortunate?" McCoy exclaimed.

"Mr. McCoy, if Buffy were a police officer who shot a suspect threatening an innocent person we would we even be having this conversation?"

"No, because the police have standards of accountability, something Miss Summers does not. No further questions."

The final witness Miller called to the stand was Buffy herself. "Miss Summers, would you please explain to us, in your own words, what happened on the night of June Twelfth?"

"After Sunnydale was destroyed Willow and I decided to go to the Wiccan conference. We hadn't been on a vacation in ages, and after defeating the First Evil we felt entitled to one. Thing were going great, until Giles called."

"And Mr. Giles told you about Nicholas Carstairs?"

"Not exactly, he said there were portents that somebody would try to raise this demon."

"In New York City."

"That's right, it had something to do with energy fields. We knew the demon would probably go after witches since they've got lots of mystical energy. So I started looking around the convention hotels trying to find potential victims.

"But you were unsuccessful."

"Yeah, New York's a lot bigger than Sunnydale. After the second girl died Willow and I decided to draw the demon out. The plan was to use Willow as bait. Things went according to plan until the cops showed up."

"How did you know where to look?"

"Willow cast a spell that showed where the demon had been. From there it was easy to find out where he was. Willow was going to lead him somewhere out of the way, then we'd take care of the problem."

"And this wasn't unusual for either of you?"

Buffy shook her head, "Back home in Sunnydale we did this sort of thing all the time."

"Fair enough, what happened next?"

"It went down pretty much the way the detectives said. I ran past them, dragged the demon into the alley and took care of it."

"And you are convinced that Nicholas Carstairs was actually a demon trying to destroy New York City?"

Buffy nodded, "Willow checked out his aura when we were at the club; he wasn't human."

"Thank-you, no further questions."

McCoy stood up and walked up to the witness box. "Let me get this straight, you identified your victim based on his aura? Do you also use mood rings?"

"No, mood rings clash with all my outfits," Buffy tartly replied. "Willow just happened to be one of the most powerful witches in the world. If she says someone's aura isn't human, it isn't human. If you want she can do a little demonstration."

McCoy turned and faced the gallery, "I think I would like to see that." He said as he stared at Willow.

"As would I," Judge Archer said. "Miss Rosenberg please approach the bench." Willow walked up to the judge. "Please show the court what these auras look like," the judge instructed.

"I'll try," Willow said. She pointed at McCoy and muttered an incantation in Latin. Suddenly the air around McCoy began to glow with a kaleidoscope of bright colors. "That's a normal human aura," Willow said. She then pointed at Angel and repeated the incantation. A swirling pattern of dark colors raced around the vampire. "That's not a human aura, any questions?"

"No, thank-you Miss Rosenberg," Judge Archer said. Willow flashed Buffy a thumbs up before returning to her seat.

"Do you do that every time you kill a vampire?" McCoy asked.

"Most of the time it isn't necessary," Buffy replied. "Vampires are pretty easy to spot when they put their game face on."

"So you're saying you've never made a mistake and killed a normal person?"

"I haven't, knock on wood." Buffy tapped on the wooden railing of the witness stand.

"You haven't, but other people have?" McCoy pressed. Buffy looked down at her hands but did not reply. "You have to answer the question Miss Summers."

"Yes, it's happened, there was a Slayer who killed a man by accident."

"And what happened to her?"

"She couldn't handle it, went bad, and I put her in a coma."

"But isn't a Slayer human?"

Buffy reached out and squeezed the railing in front of her. The wood snapped with a sharp crack. "Can a normal person do that?" She asked McCoy. "Faith went rogue and I had to stop her."

"You had to stop her?"

"That's right, me. I'm the Slayer, that's my job."

"That's funny, I thought that was the job of the police."

"The police in Sunnydale were a joke. The mayor had the whole town wired to further his own agenda, and Faith was a part of that agenda. I was the only person who could bring Faith to justice, and prevent the mayor from achieving his goal.

"Is that your solution to everything Miss Summers? Don't like someone blow them up. It must be so easy to be you."

"You have no idea what it's like to be me. You got to choose what you do. I got chosen. I never asked for this responsibility."

"So why keep doing it?" McCoy asked.

"Because it's who I am. I can run as far away as I want but I'll still be the Slayer. Nothing can change that. Look Mr. McCoy it's real simple, ordinary criminal are you thing. The creatures of the night are mine. You can't put a demon on trial, it's pure evil."

"If that's the case then why haven't you driven a stake through your friend Angel? Isn't he a vampire, aren't all vampires evil?"

"Angel's...Angel is a special case. He has a soul."

"So there are some demons you don't kill on sight."

"Sure, some of them aren't interested in destroying the world or causing mayhem, not many but some."

"In other words you have to decide who lives and dies."

"Usually the ugly demons trying to kill me make that decision for me," Buffy snapped.

"It's not self-defense if you seek them out,"

"So what would you have me do Mr. McCoy, sit on my hands while your precious police stumble around trying to stop a problem they don't even begin to comprehend?"

"They don't know the problem exists because in your god-like arrogance you've decided not to tell them!" McCoy thundered. "This is a big world Miss Summers, how can one person possibly defend it?"

"You'd have to ask the assholes who made the First Slayer," Buffy replied. "I always thought it was pretty stupid too. That's why I changed the rules. Now there are lots of Slayers, and maybe that will make a difference."

"What do you mean lots of Slayers?"

"Every girl on the planet who could be a Slayer now is a Slayer."

"Doesn't that make you just like the people who created the original Slayer? Did these girls ask for the responsibility you thrust onto them?"

"No," Buffy said through gritted teeth. "There are now enough Slayers that one person doesn't have to shoulder the entire load herself."

"You mean if you don't want to," McCoy shot back.

"I will never stop fighting back the dark. It's who I am."

"Because you're on a crusade, a one woman army accountable to no one."

"You don't know anything," Buffy spat out. "Have you ever had to run a sword through the love of your life in order to say the world? Have you ever had to choose between your life or the life of your sister? You say I should leave this to the police, but the police don't want to know. Nobody does. Why do you think people bought the lie that vampires were gangs on PCP? People don't want to know the truth. That's why it's up to me to keep them safe." Buffy glared at McCoy, daring him to continue his questions.

"That's an awful lot of ego and pride talking Miss Summers. I hope I'm nowhere near you when you fall," McCoy said, his voice cold and harsh. "No further questions."

"Very well, you may step down," Judge Archer told Buffy. "Mr. Miller, do you have anything else?"

"The defense rests your honor."

"Mr. McCoy, do the people have anything else to add?"

McCoy stood up, "No your honor."

"Very well, I'll hear closing arguments on Monday," Judge Archer banged his gavel, dismissing the court.

-Superior Court
-Part 43
-Monday, June 24

As was customary the defense got to present its argument first. Miller stood up and walked into the middle of the room. "Your honor, Buffy Summers did indeed kill Nicholas Carstairs, but his death was not murder. Carstairs posed a clear and present threat to not just this city, but society as a whole. As the defense has demonstrated in its testimony, traditional law enforcement falls short when dealing with offenders who fall outside the bounds of what society considers normal. It is up to the people like my client to guard us from these threats. It was in her role as Slayer that Miss Summers acted. A responsibility given to her by powers far greater than this court. As such the death of Nicholas Carstairs is clearly a justifiable homicide and my client, Miss Summers, deserves the court's thanks, not its scorn."

McCoy stood up slowly and adjusted his tie. "We live in a country ruled by law, and when an individual puts themselves above the law the entire system is placed in jeopardy. Buffy Summers murdered Nicholas Carstairs. Why, because his aura looked wrong. That is the extent of her proof. Now was Nicholas Carstairs really a demon? I don't know, we don't have the body. Was he actually the killer? Again, we do not know. There exists strong circumstantial evidence, but the police never found any conclusive proof."

McCoy took a breath before continuing. "The defense has revealed some deeply disturbing information and there can be no doubt that action must be taken to defend society from the threats posed by the supernatural. However, any action that is taken must be accountable to the people. Secret wars run counter to the very nature of our society. Miss Summers fights extraordinary offenders, but in the end she is a vigilante, and should be held responsible for the death of Nicholas Carstairs, regardless of if he was or was not a demon." McCoy returned to his seat.

"Thank-you everyone. I'll have my decision ready as soon as possible," Judge Archer said. "Until that time, court is adjourned."

-Superior Court
-Part 43
-Tuesday, June 25

"Before I render my verdict let me first say that this had without a doubt been the most unusual and challenging case I have ever heard," Judge Archer said to the small group gathered in the courtroom. "Both sides have raised compelling points. The conventional means of maintaining law and order do appear inadequate in the face of the supernatural. At the same time Mr. McCoy is correct when he said that an unaccountable agent acting to defend the people is just as harmful as no agent. History shows us that power left unchecked will become corrupt and tainted." Judge Archer paused. "Now, would the defendant please rise?" Buffy, along with Miller and Riley stood up. "On the sole count of the indictment, murder in the second degree, I find the defendant, Buffy Summers, not guilty."

A small cheer swept through the courtroom. Buffy sagged backwards and was caught by Angel and Giles. McCoy pounded his fist on his table in frustration.

Judge Archer banged his gavel. "Order please, I'm not finished. Miss Summers, I'm giving you a pass based on your prior actions. If I ever see you again I will not be so lenient. Since I am sure you won't stop your Slayer activities -- and more to the point nor do I want you to stop -- I strongly urge the prosecution and the defense to put aside their differences and work out a way to legitimize the Vampire Slayer's role in the eyes of the law."

"Now, pursuant to my early decision all records pertaining to this case are to be sealed and no participant or observer can discuss the details of the case with anyone outside this courtroom. I thank everyone for their time, and I apologize to Miss Summers for having to endure the rigors of a trial." Miller pounded his gavel for the final time.

"Chin up Jack, you fought the good fight in there," Branch said as he, McCoy and Southerlyn walked out of the office that night.

"Not good enough though," McCoy replied.

"Don't be so hard on yourself, your case was doomed from the moment that vampire flashed his teeth at Judge Archer," Branch noted.

"I can't say I blame him either," Southerlyn added.

"You'll also be interested it hear that Agent Finn is meeting with the NYPD about setting up a special investigative unit to deal with vampires and demons," Branch told his two assistants.

"Let me guess, they'll put Buffy Summers in charge of it," McCoy grumped.

"Think of it this way Jack," Branch said as he stepped on the elevator. "Knowing what you know now, do you feel safer with the Summers girl out there, or locked away?" The elevator closed before McCoy could reply.

-Fin-

errata:

I don't like author's notes, but there are a few things I'd like to say. This story came about for two reasons, the first was the chance to write the Buffy/Skoda scene, and the second was to mess with some heads. I was just taken with this notion of writing the crossover as an episode of Law and Order; that had it's advantages and it's drawbacks. It was fun to write such a stylized story, but at the same time it was a little constrained by the time limitations of the Law and Order format. In retrospect conceptualizing the story as a Law and Order/Law and Order:CI two parter would have allowed more time for the investigation as well as more "screen" time for Buffy and Willow. As it stands I am leaning towards writing a companion piece to this, but from Buffy's point of view. That might prove interesting.

Also, I am slightly ashamed to mention that I completely forgot about Angel's taking control of Wolfram and Hart until well after I started writing. I did briefly toy with the idea of having Lilah take over Buffy's case in an attempt to get Buffy locked up, but that would have been problematic continuity wise.

All in all I am pleased with how this story turned out, and equally pleased with the overwhelmingly positive reaction it recieved. Hope everyone enjoyed it.

-sam, 11-8-2003