Author: Paladin Steelbreaker

Title: Human Darkness

Copyright: August 2004

Rating: R Just to be safe.

Spoilers: A little bit for Btvs, and a tiny smidget of a detail from Matthew Reilly's book "Area 7".

Keywords: Human Darkness in its purest form.

Summary: Buffy learns the depth of human darkness, when she encounters James "Lucifer" Leary, and is forced to face her own inner darkness.

Legalese: All characters except those noted below with their respective rights, properties and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Agent Richard Sanderson is mine. If the unlikely event should happen, that someone wants to borrow him, or if you have comments, good or bad on my story, you can contact me at pal-o-loonline.no

Author's Notes: Another little tidbit that fell into my head.

Dedications: I would like to dedicate this one to Matthew Reilly, whom have given me hours upon hours of action packed reading. It is a pitty his books are translated so slow to Norwegian.

Now onto the show.

Human Darkness

Richard Sanderson LVPD sighed and ran his hand through his hair. It had happened again. Over the last seven years, 32 women had disappeared on the main road between Las Vegas and Phoenix. Their bodies had later been found in the area, sans their extremities. Now three more women had disappeared. And as always the monster the media called The Phoenix Surgeon, had left a piece of the victims jewellery. Richard donned the gloves and bent down and picked up this last "trophy" as their profiler called it. It was a beautifully crafted antique silver cross, on a fairly new silver chain. He squinted his eyes. There was tiny letters on the chain. 'To Buffy Summers, The Chosen One. May it keep you safe. Angel.' Richard Sanderson hardened veteran Homicide Detective, had to fight not to burst out in tears. "Some protection it gave," he bitterly growled, and put the cross in an evidence bag.

Two hours later he was looking through what he had found on the latest abducted. It started normal, with her and her father going on a trip to Las Vegas. Trying to mend their relationship after Hank Summers divorced her mother a few years ago. But when Richard started to dig into her past, he had found that Elisabeth "Buffy" Anne Summers, was anything but an ordinary woman.

1. At the age of 15 she was expelled from Hemmery High, due to burning down the gym. Her parents divorced, and she moved to Sunnydale with her mother,

2. Then she was thought to have killed her mother's boyfriend in a wild fight. She was cleared when said boyfriend reappeared, trying to kill both mother and daughter.

Richard's eyebrows shot up in astonishment. It had turned out he was a highly sophisticated robot, that somehow had gone serial killing haywire.

3. Then "Buffy" (how could any sane person call their daughter Buffy?) had been accused of murdering Kendra MacPherson, a Jamaican Teenager. She was later cleared, due to testimony given from a lot of Sunnydale's inhabitants.

4. After that she was suspected of, being responsible for the hospitalisation of Faith "Angel Of Death" Wilkins. The worst female mass murderer in recent history. She was never approached though, due to lack of evidence.

5. In Sunnydale, she seemed to have been involved in some highly confidential military operation. The only thing Richard had managed to find out was the name of the operation. "The Initiative", and the fact that five minutes after he tried to look into it, he had gotten a phone call from a General Major Riley Finn, who demanded to know why he had tried to access the file. When Richard had told what had happened, it was silent on the line for a full minute. Then he was roughly told not to look further into Miss Summers past.

Richard Sanderson shook his head. What kind of a woman was this? A faint hope ran through him. Maybe, just maybe The Phoenix Surgeon had bit over more than he could chew. He thought as he went to hear if they had found any DNA traces other than hers from the necklacke.

Buffy was in hell! Or something very similar, she thought. She had been walking along the main road, just to get away for a while. She and her dad had made progress, but still she struggled with her anger towards him. And he knew that, therefore he agreed to talk more next day. Then suddenly someone had jumped her from behind, there had this sickeningly sweet smell, and then everything went black.

Five minutes ago she woke up to the worst sight she had ever seen. And that said a lot! The first thing she registered was the sickening stench of blood and rotting human flesh. Then there was pain. She felt an immense pain in her hands and feet. When she with some effort managed to open her eyes, she threw up violently. The floor of the room she was in, was covered with large poodles of blood, of varying freshness. And the walls weren't any better. But far worse was what was in the room.

She found that she was actually crucified in the middle of the room. And at her sides, two more crosses stood. On each another person hung, and to Buffy's horror several body parts were cut of with surgical precision. And right in front of Buffy sat the room's fourth inhabitant, eating a human leg. It was the largest man Buffy had ever seen. He had to be well above two meters, and was bursting with muscles. For a moment she thought it had to be a demon. But no, her Slayer senses clearly told her he was human.

At the same time they screamed 'evil'. In fact, never had she encountered such fundamental evil! And that from a human!

"Who are you and why are you doing this!?" The giant looked up at her, and she shuddered. The left side of his face were covered with a tattoo that looked like five claw marks, complete with torn flesh and fake blood in order to instil maximum disgust. It looked like Freddy Krueger himself had cut him up.

"I am James Leary. You however can call me Lucifer. And why am I doing it? It is fun, and besides, it tastes delicious. You should try it."

"No thanks," she said, and closed her eyes no longer able to look this human monster in the eye.

Finally he was finished and threw the bones in a corner, before he walked right up to her. "Look at me!" Reluctantly she did so. God knew what this man would do if angered. "I like you," he said. "You are like me. You have seen much death. I can see it in your eyes, you are a killer."

"Yes I am a killer," she said with a cold voice. "But I am nothing like you. I may be a killer, but I am not a murderer. There is a difference you see. I have only killed in self-defence or to protect other people. And I didn't derive pleasure from it."

He smirked. "You try to tell yourself that. But you know you enjoyed it, the feeling of power, the ability to instil fear in someone." With that, he turned around and left.

Buffy felt the need to throw up again, but she couldn't, she was empty inside, as fear welled up in her like never before. What if he was right? It was an aspect of The Slayer she had refused to think about since the whole catastrophe with Faith. What if she was nothing more than a perverted killer? Didn't she feel satisfaction after a successful patrol? Didn't she enjoy the violence, and the danger? What really was it that made her different from the monster upstairs. Wasn't it only a mere decision? A product of social habits?

For the first time in her life she allowed herself to delve into the darker aspects of being the Slayer. Was she in fact no more than a predator? Yes she enjoyed fighting, she had to admit. She enjoyed the feeling of power the feeling of complete control over her body. For the first time she admitted to herself that she no longer hated being the Slayer. It felt right. It was as it should be. With cold dread she realised that she had come to love her calling. 'No! I am not Faith!' She groaned out. 'I am not! I am not! O God, I am!' She cried out before she fainted.

"Well, well, well. Having a little self doubt do we?" Her head shot up. She was in the mansion, and in front of the awakening Achatla, Angelus stood with a sick grin on his face. "What makes you think you have succumbed to darkness? Oh yes. Lucifer Leary. Now that is a guy I admire! If I could, I would turn him. Now answer me Slayer: why are you moping?"

The scenery changed. She was on the roof with Faith again. "Well B. What will it be? You think you are turning into me? Why?"

Buffy shook her head, "I enjoy the power and control of being the Slayer, and when I kill a vampire or a demon I feel satisfaction."

Faith nodded and sat down in a lotus position. "So now you think you have succumbed to darkness. Listen B., when you kill a vampire and you feel good about it. Why?"

"What do you mean?" Buffy looked confused at the Dark Slayer.

"Why do you feel good about it? Think about it. Do you like to see the death of someone?"

Buffy though about it for a while. Then she shook her head. "No, it feels good since I know that the vampire I slew never will hurt anyone again."

Faith nodded. "I suspected that. But what about the power and control? I enjoy that. I enjoy the fact that I am faster stronger and more agile than any other human in the world. As you should," Faith said. "Your Slayer abilities are a gift, not a curse as you always has perceived it. And that is what you are beginning to see. You have finally begun to be proud of what you are. Physically, you ARE above all other humans, and you should be proud that you have been seen worthy of such a gift. There is nothing wrong in liking the feeling of your body working at its most efficient. Why do you think people enjoy working out? It is because they feel how their body works smoothly and efficiently. It is a very pleasant feeling."

"But- but that's what happened to you. You started seeing yourself as above all others, and look where it led you. You have killed at least 15 humans."

Faith shook her head. "No it wasn't. Physically I was above all others, except for you. It is a fact that no one comes close to you in that regard. No that's not what turned me dark. Tell me, do you, because of all these abilities of yours, think that you are a better person? That rules and regulations don't apply to you?"

Buffy shook her head. "No. I am far from perfect. I know that. And yeah I could break the rules and regulations, no one could stop me if I did. But that would make me no better than those I fight."

"There you go B., it wouldn't surprise me if you started quoting Spiderman. With great power come great responsibilities. There is the difference between the two of us. You were always aware of your responsibilities, and you always took them seriously. Me on the other hand? I used my powers solely for my own benefit. And I started to believe that rules and regulations didn't apply to me. That I, AS A PERSON, was above all. And that's what became my fall.

"Now, lets have a little thought experiment. You are pestered by this obnoxious guy all night that wont take no for an answer. As you leave the Bronze he hangs on like a leech. The two of you are completely alone and you know that if you whack him the police will probably close the case saying it probably were gangs on PCP or some other stupid excuse. Would you consider killing him?

"Before you answer, here is another one: this ugly motherfucker of a Master vampire has taken hostage and tortured your friends and family. You take down his minions, and then face him. Would you take him down as quickly as possible, or will you play with him, give him the most amount of pain before you off him?

"And what about this one? It is night and you are out patrolling. You walk past this shop that sells bladed weapons. There you see this magnificent Masamune Katana and Wakisashi. You know they would greatly help you in your duty, but they are way beyond your monetary capacity. The street is completely empty. Would you consider breaking in and steel it?

"Now let me answer for you.

"Scenario one. No, absolutely not. You might consider knocking him out, but that's as far as you would go. Most probably you will seek to loose him by jumping onto a roof or something.

"Scenario two. You didn't do that with Angel and you didn't do that with me. Both times you did it quick and without prolonging the pain. That I fell of the roof, wasn't your fault. Had I staid on the roof, you would probably have given me a heart wound to be sure I was good and dead. You would never have left me to die slowly. And I would like to see the woman that wouldn't have wanted to do what you did, if someone had done to them what I did to you. I doubt she exists. What I did, is unforgivable.

"Scenario Three. No, not really. The thought may occur to you, thanks to the time I dragged you with me on a trip to the wild side. But even then, you had strong doubts about it. But you know you would never have done anything like that on your own.

Am I right Buffy?"

It was silent for a while , then the blonde Slayer nodded. "Yes you are. I would never do such things."

"Then quit moping, and kick that evil bastards hiney. Don't let him play with your head." Then Faith and the scenery faded away as Buffy started to wake.

In her cell, Faith sat up with a sharp shout. Damit! Not again! She had been in the middle of a hot dream about Robert Patrick, when those bloody Powers That Be high jacked her dream and put her in a dream link with Buffy, just as they had done while she was in coma. What was it with the little bottleblonde bitch anyway? How the hell could SHE doubt herself? She was the personified hero for crying out! The person Faith herself was striving to be like!

Then Faith shuddered as she remembered the flash she had gotten of Buffy's whereabouts. "Damit, what have you gotten yourself into this time B?" She whispered, with great worry for the woman who was responsible for forcing her back on the right track.

"RRRRRAAAAARRRRRGGHHHHH!!!!!"

For the first time in his diabolic life James 'Lucifer' Leary felt fear as an inhuman mix between a roar and a scream sounded from the cellar. What the hell!?! Moments later there was a sharp crack, followed by a string of hair raising curses. Then the door to his cellar exploded, there was no other name for it, to bits.

"Now you really have pissed me off!" Bleeding profusely from hands and feet, she walked towards him while almost absentminded pulling a large nail out of her hand. "What you did to those other women, its disgustingly evil. And you are a fool if you think I will let you keep doing this. Second. What the hell was it you gave me, my head hurts like hell. And last. NO ONE MESSES WITH MY HEAD!!!! COMPRENDE!?!?!?!?!?!?!"

With that the tiny blonde attacked in a flurry of kicks and punches. And for the first time in his life James 'Lucifer' Leary, the serial killer the media had named "The Phoenix Surgeon", felt helpless, as all he could do was to curl into a fatal position and hope for the best.

The best didn't happen. Instead this tiny slip of a girl, grabbed him by the neck and threw him into the wall on the other side of the room, really hard. So hard, in fact, that the 205cm and 99 kilo muscular man slithered unconscious to the floor. Buffy walked over and looked at him. Her Slayer senses screamed for her to kill him, to eradicate his evil. But she clamped down on that part of her. He was human, if only barely.

Instead she called the police, then picked up the still unconscious Leary and went downstairs again. There she broke the crosses and laid them down on the floor to lessen the pressure on the other women's nailed hands and feet. She didn't dare pulling out the nails. These women had already lost a lot of blood. After doing what little she could for the two women, she sat down on Leary's chest, and waited for the police to come.

"You know," she said, looking down at the still form of the serial killer. "I should thank you. I am sure you didn't mean to, but you helped getting my head screwed on right. I am what I am, and I am proud of it. I may work in the dark, but I belong to the Light. Thank you for making me see that."

And that's how Richard Sanderson found her when they arrived half an hour later. Sitting on the unconscious killer, with a strange smile on her lips.

"It's about time you came, she said. "I have already had to knock the bastard out twice after I called you." Then she just stood up and left.

"Hey! You can't just walk away!" he shouted and ran up the stairs after her. But when he came up, she was far away down the road, running at an impossible pace. He was still standing there, shaking his head when his men came up with Leary and his latest victims.

Who the hell was that woman?

Fine