1/14/03 Removed dated and overlong Author's Note.

The slightly revamped, and further polished, The Summers File. There is a sequel, The Empress. I am in fact working on it.

Disclaimer: I don't own the context, Joss Whedon and associates do. I do own Detective McElHain and Car 29.

Spoilers: The Gift at the end of Season 5 and Bargaining I and II at the beginning of Season 6. That's it.

Distribution: Absolutely. Anywhere. Just don't fail to credit my alias, and don't change the text. Well, feel free to change obvious speling and and grammar errors.

The File: Summers, Buffy Anne

In an office burning the midnight oil, unlike his more dispirited colleagues, Detective MacElHain stared at the Summers File. He was drinking and talking to himself, and firing too late angry questions at the dead. The heavy, thick Summers File. The file that began with a 15 year old girl becoming a discipline problem and burning down her high school gym. The file progressed to include surveillance camera photos of implausible leaping kicks aimed at impossible opponents. On one memorable night, the young lady had actually sailed through the-whatever it was-the astonishment and disgust of the girl plain in spite of the grainy film. That tape was in his safety deposit box. It had been shared with a select few Sunnydale PD personnel who were not aggressively ignorant of what went bump in the night. It was a howler, watching her land awkwardly, sliding and sprawling in the sudden gore; standing up carefully, parting the hair from her face, and sending goo flying. Then she peeks around as if to see if anyone's watching. Shaking herself like a wet cat, and then stepping off with her arms held out from her sides, legs as akimbo as her elbows, like she didn't want to touch herself with the glop. That night they'd decided to steer foot and car patrols away from Ms. Summers, if they could. Call volume went down in her vicinity anyway.

Remembering her then brought a short-lived smile to his face. She'd given every impression of being a half-drowned kitten. Yearling tigress from hell, maybe, but still soggy.

He thought the rank and file and the higher ups had a good working relationship concerning strange things in Sunnydale. At least, he had to say it was functional. For the higher-ups. The mayor didn't want anything to happen, it didn't matter what the thing was, it didn't happen. It didn't matter if the mayor was the weird thing happening, nothing happened. Somehow the ruins of the school never were fully investigated by the State Fire Marshal, and of course the natural gas had caused hypoxia, known to bring on hallucinations. Forty block running riot with mindless zombies? Never happened.

"Hallucinations, my ass. Wilkins turned into a giant snake and tried to eat everybody, and then a platoon of vampires attacked." He couldn't have said that out loud without the liquor and solitude. He could admit that to himself. And he had to admit the Mayor was why he had this file, he had said, "Watch that girl. She's a bad element."

If you knew what to listen for you could hear careful radio calls and hear microphones being thumped on steering wheels in a code that meant, stay away, play Sgt. Shultz. If you are already involved, nothing strange happened, it was just a regular crime.

Like this set of reports, paper clipped together. Officers reporting a tiny girl doing diving forward rolls over chainlink fences to avoid their cruisers. Strange enough already. They failed to mention the fences were six feet high. They'd had to file something, because before they figured out who it was, too many people had reported it. The State Police were involved. They had to file something.

Sometimes, running from them, she'd had to leave bodies of things behind that evaporated in the early morning light, sometimes becoming shimmering drifts of dust, sometimes dissolving into smoking pools of blood. Sometimes the bodies didn't vanish, and the patrolmen involved had to clean things up. Just junk you couldn't tell your sergeant, and if your sergeant was helping you pile the corpse into the trunk, he still didn't see anything. And it was quickly discovered that if left alone, Ms. Summers and friends tidied their own messes. How some of the hulking corpses were carried off did not bear close examination, but whatever. Now he'd never get to ask her.

Or this one, from early in her career, a beaut. In spite of all his fears, he'd almost had to ask her about this one. Car 29 reporting a woman being beaten by four big masked bikers on PCP, had to be, what else could it be? It couldn't be what it looked like. And by the time they cross the block, the four were gone, waaaay too much blood loss for them to be moving, but they ain't even there; and the lithe blond was dragging herself over a wall, her shattered femur tearing through blood blackened denim. What one officer had let on is that all four had vanished into dust as they approached, and the girl...it had damn near broke his heart to see anyone hurt that bad run from him, desperate to stay away from help. Course, when he had thought about it, which wasn't often, it kinda made your hair stand up for anyone in that shape to be moving at all, let alone running.

MacElHain pulled on his scotch and remembered; the next day, I watched her go into the High School, visibly limping. Also plainly visible, under the knee length skirt, no compound fracture. Two photo frames taken six hours apart. One still from the dash camera showing blood smearing, and sweaty agony, the film revealing hesitation at the top of the wall, the small climber knowing that a controlled fall couldn't happen, only a crash landing jarring broken bones into each other and into torn soft flesh. Brows drawn together, two deep breaths, and she goes over the wall and into the night. In the morning, swelling, redness, and bit of favoring the limb, fewer smiles, less joking with friends. "Bit of a rough night then, Ms. Summers?" He said out loud to the papers spread out in front of him.

"Well God bless you, whatever you were. Wherever you've ended up. Surely heaven, surely better than here. I found your grave, hidden away like it shouldn't be seen. Saved the world a lot. Yeah, I'll bet you did. You meant more of my officers made it to the end of their shifts. I know that. Turnover's down 80% since you came to town. I've got more hair left than dad did, him with the screaming nightmares and puddling dark circles under his eyes through retirement. Heart troubles taking him early, nerves and health shot by seeing what shouldn't be seen."

"'I'm so proud of you son,' he said, 'a cop like your old man. Now get the hell out of Sunnydale.' I shoulda listened to you, dad. First night in a uniform, we get a call about a lot of screaming over by the docks, and Cory gets this weird haunted look and tells me not to go up to that apartment. 'Course I ignore him and go anyway. So then you helped me Dad, helped me drink myself to sleep on the couch. 'He wasn't all there!' I kept on saying. There was a leg over the ceiling fan, and blood all over, and guts in a neat pile-and no organs and not enough of the meat to be found. Neat bloody handprints. Claws and three fingers, and two thumbs per hand. I don't know what lie you told Kim, about why I didn't come home until morning. Dyed in the wool soccer mom, my lady, and never did ask why things went bump in the night. What things went bump in the night.

"And if she had, what would I tell her? Well, honey, one of the things that went bump in the night was a little blond slip of a girl who might weigh 100 pounds dripping wet. She' was a stone killer too; delivering pat one liners I heard over parabolic mikes, and then death rattles. I never quite worked up to actually interviewing her, but I've seen her kill. Violence can't ever really be graceful, not when you're beating things to death. Bones are snapping unpredictably, flesh wetly parts, and it's all sloppy hell. She did usually manage to make it look like a dance though."

He thought back to when he asked his daughter about the golden umbrella. How she'd stammered and said nothing 'til he finally let her off the hook. Shit, blue wall of silence has got nothing on those kids. Still, Sunnydale had only lost eleven kids that year; usually it was up around 30 or 50. Gilt umbrella. Jesus! Girl needed some armor. And backup.

"And I could have got it for you, I just didn't know where that would go, and things were going so well. Would you have spooked? Left town and found some other place to protect. Or were you hunting. Would I have found out you weren't the person I hoped you were, prayed you were? That you were just satisfying some blood lust in the safest way you knew how? That you might take off or start in on the regular folks if discovered, maybe starting with me? What was behind your green eyes? Letting well enough alone seemed like such a good idea for so long, but dammit I never even said one word to you! 'Ms. Summers,' I'd've started out, 'we need to have a talk. Please quit running from us, we both have job to do. Don't get in our way, we won't get in yours. And for God's sake if you're hurt, please don't run from us, let us help you. We all know first aid and carry a lot of supplies. Some of us have back up guns loaded with sections of oak dowels. Shotshells loaded with lead and silver and iron pellets. Do we please have an understanding, Ms. Summers?'"

He looked in her face, an enlargement of her face at peace from a convenience store across the corner from the school. He spoke softly to the print. "You were graceful when you died." Fully in control, running off the tower those nutjobs built that night grief broke out like the plague. "I could see you from a half mile away, I figured you knew what you were doing. I didn't know you were desperate. You could have come to us too, nosed around careful, found those few of us who grew up here, and know what all goes on. We've got a SWAT team. Might've bought you time. Time to think of something else. Happy to pay for it however, with whomever, that's our job too. At least some of us think so." He remembered how clearly in possession of herself she was before she hit the ravening patch of light, muscle tone evident in the dive, and then floppy and tumbling after. He still figured she'd live, from the damage he'd seen her shrug off. Her not being there was too awful to think about. He just hadn't expected to see her for a while.

So when I saw you perky and patrolling just after, I was shocked and I followed your hangers on and found the grave. Unmistakable grief in your friends' faces, and a stakeout showed the red haired girl fiddling with wires and a computer, while Ms. Summers stood stock still, a panel open in her side. Ok. I get it. Nobody's supposed to know you're dead. Keep the bad guys running scared. You got it folks; they run scared more, and I run scared less. I might get through another month with nothing but a normal murder. I'll tell a few of the guys to keep up with the, "Avoid Ms. Summers", radio chatter. And I'll take some of the guys by your grave. Who'll notice a little ceremonial rifle fire by moonlight, around here anyway? A shared flask passed around at least, and bit poured out for you. And well, maybe not by moonlight either. No sense taking chances, I guess. Dying in the line of duty's one thing, in the line of grief is just stupid. We're one shy in the guardian angel department, at least I hope you were an angel, for all I know, you might just have been a convenient baddie. I never asked, you sure never volunteered anything. Except yourself.

That creepy blond punk just stared at me when I brought the bread over to your house. Yeah, I was real smooth, stammering out something about, "sorry for your loss," him making me for a cop in nothing flat and not knowing what to do with me. So he takes it and says thank you. That little girl looking at me with tearing eyes, and I've got to bail. Boy was I not smooth.

So I'm looking at your file, Ms. Summers, and I've got a tumbler of the Glenfiddich in one hand, and an empty in the other. My ice gave out an hour ago, and I don't give a damn. And I've got a Closed Cases drawer to my right, a trash can to my left, and the door in front of me, and my den at home and just two months to retirement. I've had too much to drink for any of them to be a sure bet, even just making the door, Ms. Summers, and I just don't know what the hell to do with your file.

Ha! I preserved the old reviews this time. Don't know if this is the best way, but it works.

MeB XanWill4Ever 2002-08-01 1 Signed This was very good! From a whole new perspective. high-five, and big thanks for this excellent tale. I look forward to continuing chapters.

paratti 2002-06-10 1 Signed great concept, nicely executed

Paladin Steelbreaker 2002-06-10 1 Signed Hi there!

Really good storry. Can I hope for a sequell, after Buffy returns? But you might wanna do something about all those strange symbols in the text. It makes it harder to read.

Greetings from Norway

Paladin Steelbreaker Rosey 2002-06-08 1

Anonymous Now that was an excellent story! The plot was fabulous - the writers on BTVS have never really delved into the SDPD angle (except to make them look stupid) - not only that, your writing is top notch - bet you're a writer in real life too! Keep it up - best fic I've read in a long time - great grammar and NO SPELLING MISTAKES! Woo hoo! Wildcard00 2002-06- 07 1

Anonymous Interesting little fic. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Terri 2002-06-06 1

Anonymous Really great beginning...a unique take on the SDPD...please, please continue...

love to see their reaction when B is brought back! Majin Gojira 2002-06-06 1

Anonymous Very good. Very good. A Nice little vinet. It would be nice to see a story expand on the premises stated here, but it's not nesessary. A little late for the flood of 'Post Gift Angst' this time last year, but, hell, still a good read.

Aisuru 2002-06-06 1 Signed That was great! Andi 2002-06-06 1

Anonymous My God that was exellent. I loved this story. I have read it six times in two days. It's so sad but not enough to make you cry, just enough to make you sit back and think people actually did notice Buffy summers and and they are missing there fallen angel.

U should do a sequel when she comes back from the dead and have the man speak again.

fastpilot 2002-06-06 1 Signed Well, I'm afraid I dumped the previous reviews when I reloaded this version. Sorry folks, I do appreciate your comments.

This is a bit more polished than the last, I think I've yanked on as many heartstrings as I should, and maybe a few too many. What do you think?